Where can I begin with this poem? It’s stunning. It won’t take any time to read, but oh my goodness, it’ll probably get you started on some serious thinking. I read this poem a few weeks ago with every intention of writing about it then, but it’s taken me this long to find any words about it.
The Dream of the Rood is a fine example of Middle English poetry, though the exact date of the poem’s authorship is still unknown. Perhaps that adds to the wonderful mystery of it all.
At any rate, you may wonder, what is a ‘Rood’? Ah, glad you asked. Rood is a Middle English word for ‘rod’, which was also a word used for a crucifix. Maybe the title makes you wonder: is this the cross dreaming, or is someone dreaming of the cross and then writing the poem (think about the title, it’s still unclear… the only answer is to read on and find out).
The poem is indeed a dream about the cross of Jesus and its experiences and viewpoint during Jesus’ crucifixion. Whoa, what an incredible idea, the use of the inanimate object to tell the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. It’s interesting, all of the Easter church services I’ve been to in my life; I’ve never heard anything so abstract that made so much sense. The idea of a cross or tree speaking puts me in mind of one of my favorite Bible verses… check out 1 Chronicles 16:33.
I realize this isn’t my usual type of post, that’s simply because there’s almost nothing I can say. Read it, and you’ll see what I mean.