Thinking about William Blake

It’s been a long time – over two weeks – since I posted anything on this blog.  I’ve been sick with what was probably a nasty virus.  I want to go on writing about the inward journey, and that takes more energy than I’ve had.  And then I got thinking about William Blake . . . .  If you’ve never read Blake’ poems or seen his images – engravings and watercolors, mostly – take a few minutes online to explore his work.  I used to think he was just a strange mystic, not especially interesting.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to see the depth in his art and in his thinking.  He’s a mystic, all right, one who sees the connections in the universe, the oneness of God, and the unity of light and dark.

 

The Professor Thinks of Death

What consolation is it to William Blake
that I should read his poems, mark his words?
What satisfaction that I see his paintings,
trace his engraved lines on the page?

Does Shakespeare know the new Globe plays his works
to the wide world?  Does Chaucer see the Reformation
spread to Africa and Asia?  Does Yeats approve
the peace that flowers (slowly) in his land?

God of Blake and my heart, why is it so hard
to think that death’s an end to thought and self,
when all of life cries out, “I am the center!
Surely I will live forever, know forever, even though . . .”

The essence of the self is wonderfully changed!
A few sparse leaves hang on the winter branch.
They will fall, rot into humus, feed the tree
as tender new leaves burst forth and sing.

Our own perspective molds our lives and thoughts.
I am nothing to Blake, though he is much to me.
What does it matter if the future reads these lines?
Death is God’s affair.  I give it up.

 

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