Wednesday, October 15, 2008

William Blake

After falling madly in love with TS Elliot, my second poetic infatuation was William Blake. The first of his poems I read was The Tyger, which found me in an adolescent search for God. I wrestled with Blake like the Angel of Death in my quest for God and never lost my love of Blake, but gave up on God long, long, long ago. Now The Tyger seems like a vaguely menacing nursery rhyme.


Tyger, tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And, when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tyger, tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

By William Blake


Randal Graves said...

I love Blake's stuff, and it always seems extra groovy when read off the plates instead of plain text.

Utah Savage said...

Wow, groovy.

Utah Savage said...

There's a poem in my new Paris Review I want to post. What's the copyright situation on something like that?

Linda Sama said...

Yeats was always one of my faves:


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

I was an English major in undergrad and never finished my masters in writing. poetry was my speciality....I even took an entire grad course in Ezra Pound....yikes!

Utah Savage said...

Yes, Linda I love that poem.

And Yikes is right!

D.K. Raed said...

I've always loved that particular Blake poem, too. But I must be missing the god gene because I saw it as a repudiation of the idea that there was any god at all.

Pagan Sphinx said...

We share a love of the same poets, Utah.

What do you think of Yates? I've been love with him, unrequietedly, of course, for decades. ;=)

Linda Sama said...

sis, I always thought that Yeats poem would make a beautiful and haunting video....

Linda Sama said...

can't you just FEEL the sphinx moving, the way Yeats writes about it?

Randal Graves said...

utah, since we won't tell the editors of the Paris Review, go ahead and post it. Even Crazy George Lucas sends cease and desist letters before sending the horde of lawyers upon a victim.

Utah Savage said...

Sometime The Poetryman reminds me of Blake, sometimes of Yeats too.