Wednesday, September 10, 2008

“Ah! Sun-flower!”

An extra poem this week—there’ll be one over the weekend, too. This marvelous lyric is by one of the greatest English language poets, William Blake (1757-1827)—from his 1794 Songs of Experience—a companion volume to his 1789 Songs of Innocence. Blake of course was also a visual artist, & his books were illustrated with his own evocative prints.

A radical (tried on charges of sedition in 1804, but acquitted), a free-thinker, a man of profound & profoundly heterodox religious beliefs, Blake’s poetry can be deceptively simple as in the lyric below, or extremely complex & informed by his own private mythology, such as his longer poems like “Milton” or the “Song of Los.”

I plan on making another post later today (going from the sublime to the mundane, to say the least) so check back, & in the meantime, enjoy!

Ah! Sun-flower

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.

Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

William Blake (1794)

The link above to the William Blake Archive will give you a very comprehensive view of the poet if you're interested. For those who'd prefer a quick overview, try the following link to the old standby Wikipedia entry.

The pic is from the Weiser River Trail in Council, ID

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