In what furnace was thy brain
forged? What adamantine blade
cut those mind forg’d manacles
and freed you?
Freed, into the vales of Har
th’ eternal porter lifts the bar
the Garden of Love opens, read
‘Though shalt’ over the door:
Thou shalt write in darkness
only to shine, with the engraver’s art
thou shalt enlighten every one of us
who seeks to know thy heart.
And when that heart has ceased to beat
what dread poem, to what dread beat
shall follow, in your fearful wake
the world to rouse, it’s core to shake?
Blake! we are sleepwalking
Blake! caught within mills with complicated wheels
Blake! my only hope:
if we persist long enough in such folly
we may yet
as you envisioned in your prophecy.
© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved
Written for dVerse
Laura is hosting Poetics, and has given us the following challenge:
- Select ONE of our favourite poets (a celebrated or a lesser known one) and write a poem either:-About them (the indirect voice, as exemplified in the first two poems)
OrAddressing them in the direct voice (Jennings’ last poem)
- your title must include the poet’s name
- try and employ the poet’s recognisable style
- there are no rules for meter or poetry form
- those who choose the direct voice, might like the extra challenge of an ODE – (HERE’S HOW)
I have written an irregular Ode (because it doesn’t follow a strict scheme of stanzas like a traditional Ode) to one of my favourite poets, William Blake. This is not the first time I have responded to Blake’s poetry with a poem. In fact I’ve done this twice before, in both ‘Seer-Lion‘ and ‘Jerusalem’s Lament.’ I think it’s fair to say I have been greatly influenced by his work.
Laura begins her prompt with a quote from T.S. Eliot: “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.” Whether or not this is a sign of maturity, I have stolen a lot in the poem above, so here are the references:
- ‘In what furnace was thy brain’ is a direct quote from ‘The Tyger,’ and the first two lines of my fourth stanza are an imitation of the last two lines of the third stanza of this same poem.
- The ‘vales of Har’ are mentioned in ‘The Book of Thel.’ Part IV of the same poem begins ‘The eternal gates’ terrific porter lifted the northern bar’
- The phrase ‘mind forg’d manacles’ is taken from the poem ‘London.’
- The Garden of Love is another poem by Blake.
- The final stanza references There Is No Natural Religion:
– ‘The bounded is loathed by its possessor. The same dull round even of a universe would soon become a mill with complicated wheels.’
and also one of Blake’s ‘Proverbs of Hell‘ from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:
– If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
Featured Image: The William Blake Archive, from Europe a Prophecy (Public Domain.)