Most of Blake’s proverbs in Proverbs of Hell are short and memorable but require the reader to make his own individualized interpretation of them.  For Blake, proverbs are useful in this way because only the reader can create a meaning and in doing so, they are using the poetic genius, which I see is the main purposes for Blake writing Proverbs of Hell.  Blake wants his readers to harness the poetic genius because, to him, this state brings freedom and joy as well as diminishes the constricting ideologies associated with Urizen.

Blake’s proverbs are filled with contraries.  Take “The crow wish’d everything was black, the owl, that everything is white,” which presents two birds, or contraries, opposing each other.  One prefers white while the other prefers blacks.  With these two contrary animals interacting, the reader understands that their is differing states one can live by.  Another example, “Where man is not nature is barren,” indicates also contrary states of existence but these contraries, although separate, depend on each other.  Without one, their cannot be the other and for Blake, progression can only happen through experiencing both contraries.

Today, I experienced the poetic genius or apocalyptic vision that Blake wished all to utilize.  There was no thought other than a flashing image of how I interpreted the meaning of my chosen proverb, which I then immediately drew.  When presented with a task, a connection was made to the task without really thinking it over, using any kind of logic, or much planning.  What I saw as most prominent during the experience is described in the proverb “the busy bee has no time for sorrow.”  I was so engrained in the activity that I had no time to use reason or feel like I was doing an inconvenience/ annoying work and by consequence, I felt free of the burdens of society and a life of responsibility and was rather plainly enjoying in the activity itself.

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