When reading “Little Girl Lost,” by William Blake, the first immediate difference that I noticed was the difference in detail, length of the poem, and specificity of imagery. “The Little Girl Lost” begins with two stanzas that appear to be describing a vision- a moment of clarity where one is able to reflect and shift perspectives on past and future endeavors. Unlike “Little Boy Lost,” the figure in this poem is named. Lyca becomes a child who is wandering in what is described as a desert. She wishes to sleep however, her mother’s worrying about her being lost is keeping her from doing so.

“‘Lost in desert wild
Is your little child.
How can Lyca sleep
If her mother weep?

‘If her heart does ache,
Then let Lyca wake;
If my mother sleep,
Lyca shall not weep.”

When Lyca does allow herself to sleep, wild animals come to look at her. The poem ends in a manner that surprised me. The lion undressed Lyca and carries her off to their cave together.

When analyzing this poem, I found myself reflecting back on the first two stanzas, feeling as though the introduction of this poem is what brings so much depth and importance.

Blake writes:

“In futurity
I prophesy
That the earth from sleep
(Grave the sentence deep)

Shall arise, and seek
For her Maker meek;
And the desert wild
Become a garden mild.”

I found these two stanzas to be an allegorical interpretation for what can be understood as a sexual awakening. Sleep has often been documented to symbolize a form of sexual awakening has it embodies a moving from one state of consciousness to another. When one falls into sleep, they unlock a world of experiences that are impossible to view and understand while awake. Blake, in this poem, offers voice to the experience of little girl finding her grounding as a woman, in a world where systematic and symbolic measures are formed against her, keeping her awake from the sleep she so desperately yearns to explore.

-Angelica Costilla