To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.
A dove-house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell thro’ all its regions.
A dog starv’d at his master’s gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipt and arm’d for fight
Does the rising sun affright.
Every wolf’s and lion’s howl
Raises from hell a human soul.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro’ the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro’ the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.
There has been too much loss over these past months. My heart has been uprooted and replanted – as are the hearts of a few I hold dearest. My mind is attempting to find clarity during this ineffable juncture in life. As someone who depends on words as they do their breath and blood, their failure to convey my churning thoughts and feelings seem to be a failing extension of myself. When I cannot write, I read in desperate hopes that someone before me was able to string together the nouns, verbs, and adjectives with a poignancy that will bring light into my foggy mind.
I find I am constantly returning to William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence.” In school the study of poetry meant the complete and utter decimation of its beauty to examine the skeleton of deeper intent; a dissection of a living thing, the ignorance of its wholeness with an emphasis on what ought to be, should be, or could be. I am beginning to question this method; not just in poetry but in all things.
Perhaps some things are to be ingested as they are. Does understanding the scattering of light particles in the atmosphere make a sunrise any more beautiful? Do we find Starry Night any more magnificent after studying Van Gogh’s method and style of paint stroke? Does having baker’s technique and ratios revealed make a perfect macron any less perfect? Does comprehending the wind rotation of a hurricane make it more, or less, powerful?
Does life, in all its nebulous states and existences, make more sense if analyze every moment and occurrence? Perhaps some things should be accepted for being what they are, the sum of their parts, the wholeness of their intent, known or unknown.
Why “Auguries of Innocence” speaks to me and fills my heart, I don’t know. I know it just does exactly that. And perhaps that is what the poem is telling me: Accept this for what it is, with grace and time my purpose will be revealed to you.
This is my innocence in all things.
Excerpts from”Auguries of Innocence” by William Blake. While it is quite long, I encourage you to read the whole piece. If you do not have a book of Blake’s work, you can read the whole poem here on wikipedia.