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The Sunrise in Poetry: What Does It Symbolize?

I enjoy researching poetry and sharing my findings with readers.

Sunrise as a symbol in poetry

Sunrise as a symbol in poetry

"Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love and then for as second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire."

— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Fire and Love

In Greek mythology, Prometheus took fire from Zeus and gave it to humans. In poetry, fire and the sun are often used to symbolize love, the bond between people, and healing. Although the sun can symbolize other ideas, as well, it is usually tied to love between people. It is not always romantic love—it can also be brotherly love, familial love, or the love between friends. Whatever the nature of the relationship, the sun in poetry usually conveys a nurturing type of love.

"Nature's First Green Is Gold"

The book The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton struck a cord with people because it was about the love between brothers and friends who shared a mutual bond as a result of their oppression.

The poem "Nature's First Green Is Gold" by Robert Frost was popularized by the book because in the book Johnny used the last line of the poem to tell Poneyboy to "stay gold." The poem was about the sunrise representing youth and innocence.


"Sunrise on the Hills"

"Sunrise on the Hills," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was interpreted to be about the healing power of nature. Longfellow makes an analogy between the sun a knight and nature the romantic love of the knight or the princess. It holds on to the idea that when you are full of sorrow or worn down by life nature will lift your mood and have a healing effect. It is proposing that the sun and nature symbolizes love.


"Distance From the Sun"

The poem "Distance From the Sun" by Megan Fricke, a modern poet, is about the same concept as the other two poems. It appears to be about the healing nature of the sun and it being a life force.

The poem contains religious themes, which is different from the other two poems we've discussed. However, the theme of the sun as a healing source of life and love is still present. There appears to be a theme of life and death, or the passage of time. This was true also to some extent with Robert Frost but not with Longfellow. The sunrise represents new beginnings, or youth, and the sunset represents death.

"Distance From the Sun" by Megan Fricke

I was plunged into the water down here on Earth
Like the first breath I took right after birth.

The clouds can come and pour down rain
Hitting me where it hurts where it causes pain.

Job went through the same trials of present day man
Treated with disdain and cruelty by men because they can.

I can forget that beyond the clouds there lay the sun
Burning so brightly a sign for everyone.

It heats Mother Earth from which we came.
The rain may pour now but it will not stay the same.

The seasons change and so does the sun.
Soon the Moon will be out where the starts will have fun.

Each flower is given soil, sun, and water.
And those that do not make it do not falter.

They return to Earth fertilizing the soil.
The sun warms it because God is so loyal.

The sun rises with its golden hues
Making everything bright and new.

The green becomes golden and warm.
And new life on Earth will grow and form.

The sun shines down on me while I am praying
And warms in green pastures where I am laying.

The air that we breathe is breathed by everyone.
And despite race and war it is all still warmed by the same golden sun.

People are hard at work waiting for the End.
A message from God, Oh Angel please send.

Children are crying, learning, and playing.
And the day goes on so I keep saying.

Some are caught in catastrophe and rain,
All the worries and anxieties that cause us pain.

Some are caught in the sun's golden ray,
Caught in God's promise so the Bible will say.

Rejoice in your pain as well as your sorrows.
The sun will rise again always a tomorrow.

Until the sun goes down the last day of your life.
There will be no more tears, no more hardships, and no more strife.

The sun slowly sinks to the other side of the Earth.
And you will return to where your life led you starting at your birth.

Sunrise Is a Rich Symbol

These three poems were written in different time periods yet still share the same common theme. They all three mention the sun as a source of love, healing, and a life force from which humans draw strength. It is symbolic of love or the bonds between people which are often mysterious and hard to define. All three poems explore the concept of love and the healing power of nature.

© 2017 Ezria Copper


DREAM ON on August 09, 2017:

I am happy to put the first comment on your lovely hub. Thank you for sharing each of the poets poems and their connection with the sun. I find the sun both inviting and extremely powerful. I love after a long winter the beautiful warm sun. It changes the way we feel. In the winter the days are shorter and without the sun I want to sleep more. In the summer when it gets so hot it becomes unbearable. I look around just to escape.