Category: Innocence, Eden, and Childhood (1/31)

We Are What They Tell Us to Eat

William Blake has given me a framework to reflect on our relationship with the living world I inhabit. I have arranged three of his plates above to highlight our connected histories and fate with nature. The three plates I chose demonstrate never-ending relationships of language, gender, religion, freedom and so forth. But I think they also offer a framework to think about our co-existence with the environment that invites me and welcomes me. The first plate, from left to right, depicts human birth paralleled to the birth of a flower. This blooming interconnection of  humanity and nature is echoed in the next plates. The plate in the middle is full of life, resembled both in the stance of the people at the top and the greenery’s energetic twists. The last plate, which looks darker in color but nonetheless beautiful and full of life and wisdom, is a portrayal of our connection to the world when it is at it’s end. Blake’s plates give us a quick but multi-faceted and complicated synopsis of the human life and it’s cyclical beauty paralleled to that of nature.

However, the narrative I have created is far from being unpolitical. My readings of Blake leave me with additional ideas to process. How has industrialization, capitalism, and white supremacy poisoned our relationship with the environment? What would gender expression look like when it’s co-created with nature instead of nation-state language and sexist and transphobic ideologies? How can we (re)think, (un)learn, and feel a connection with nature and with the food that we eat, in terms of challenging the “right food” or “good food” for a healthy colonial body that is the gears and shifts of a capitalist machine.

-Israel Alonso



Sweet dreams form a shade, O’er my lovely infants head, […] Sweet smiles in the night, Hover over my delight. Sweet miles Mothers smiles All the livelong night beguiles.


When the voices of children are heard on the green And laughing is heard on the hill, My heart is at rest within my breast And every thing else is still Then come home my children, the sun is gone down And the dews of night arise Come come leave off play, and let us away Till the morning appears in the skies No no let us play, for it is yet day And we cannot go to sleep Besides in the sky, the little birds fly And the hills are all covered with sheep

To the bells chearful sound. While our sports shall be seen […] Till the little ones weary No more can be merry The sun does descend, And our sports have an end: Round the laps of their mothers.


And I am black, but O! my soul is white. […] Thus did my mother say and kissed me. […] My mother taught me underneath a tree […] And pointing to the east began to say.


Using the above sampled lines from the various pieces of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience, I have imagined a murder-mystery movie plot loosely-based on director Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho/The Birds film plots for their containing analogous scenes of the three images borrowed from Blake’s text interpolated into narratorial voiceovers. The first tile resembles how ‘Innocence’ states a critical, prison rhetoric and legal discourse which reflects criminal justice systems that profit off hyper-incarceration trends, while evoking a theme present in modern literature from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment to Blake’s Songs on resisting autocracy historically by challenging ‘attainment of innocence.’ Norman Bates as the killer in Psycho is guilty without ever being guilty, as indicated by his hiddenness in the famous, silhouette-shower stabbing scene and thus embodies the paradox which Blake confronts throughout his Songs of Innocence and of Experience and in the concept of ‘innocence.’ Norman Bates revealed with mental illness reflects Blake’s dissociative editorials in Songs which appear fragmented in my narrative, presented here without the typical enjambment. The repetitive mentioning of mothers and children can employed to cliché effect aestheticizing nationalist undertones in readings, for example of ‘sport’ or other anthropomorphic and male-dominant language-valuations, for engineering palatable entertainment applications. My specific ordering of the plates replicates the traditional horror-movie arch, transforming a killer amongst the children, beginning with creepy mother-baby cradle-beguiling, and concluding with the shifting black boy image for signifying how demise, death, or execution may be contradicted by his youth, suggesting an innocence which doubles as guilt in both mental illness and criminal justice paradigms.

-Bradley Dexter Christian

The following story line reveals the “Innocence” of a child’s understanding, or lack thereof.  While in some of the writings I wrote the mother as the speaker, it is to be inferred that the child is listening, but again with a naivety.  Blake wrote much about the innocence of children in “Songs of Innocence.”  In one of the pictures I chose, the mother and child are black.  I chose to place this here, aside both other depictions where the families are white, in order to show that the black child has some sense of his place in the world, but yet still may not totally know yet.  On the other hand, while the white mothers and children will experience a different perspective of life, I still feel that the white children, too, will be entering a world of chaos, which Blake reveals in the other book. -Marcy Martinez


My child, how shall I explain.
It seems that you understand the vain.
It seems as though you know your place,
It seems as if you know your name.
How can I explain to thee,
That lines and divides shall conquer we.
But still I shall guide thee with utter strength.
Leading you to a special rank
To me, your shade of skin
Is beyond a beauty.
And God only sees, what should He.


My sight is pure, so far I see.
No corruption, only smiles of teeth.
No idea of what color means.
No clue of the difference
between poor and elite.
My mother’s eyes, happy to be.
She carries me, with liberty.
She embraces me, with a loving touch.
She shows me the world,
But not too much.
Im happy in this life of mine.
Sunshine, skies, and butterflies.
No sense of ill or woes,
Just living a life, knowing
Where I shall go.


Looking down upon these two,
Feeling blessed for what they do.
They shall bask in the light of the sun
And their skin.
They shall live in a world
Where they shall not sin.
These two will go onto know it all.
Through seasons, survive,
Winter, Spring, and Fall.
All a while, gaining a sense of knowledge.
Looking forward to the day,
They make it to college.

blake 1

The boy’s mama loved him so she set him down;
Laid him low with the lonely lamb.
He stroke the lamb’s face that wears the frown,
The face of one who is afraid of brutal man.
The lamb’s white wool clean and bright
Like his fair and youthful skin, light.
He comforts him on the soft green mat,
Exchanging looks where they sat.

Fear falls from the lamb’s familiar eyes.
A fierce flame fading in his chest.
Yet in darkness, a light falls from the sky
And then he knew the lamb was blessed.
He was opened with opened arms.
The lamb entered with innocent charms,
He removed the soot from his hooves,
Renewed his corrupted youth.

blake 2

The boy said, “Little lamb how you weep,
Weep you do for thy mama.
She wishes for you to sleep
And drift away from the trauma.
You can sleep in peace now still young.
Just imagine and nothing will go wrong.
Look up into the night
The stars cannot hinder your sight.”

The lamb speaks to him of angels
From a faraway Kingdom
Hidden in clouds behind the hills
And there they shall find freedom.
The boy said, “Look little lamb,
You and I will find a plan
We’ll find this house from above
We’ll find the hidden love.”

blake 3

Now with the holy words in his mouth
He pranced, he dance, and he sang with joy.
He shared the words of the Lord about the path
But the grown men laughed because he was but a boy.
They say there was no way to get away
But they cannot stay in a place of darkening gray.
Laugh and laugh they laughed on.
He walked away until the laughter has gone.

blake 4

The boy and the lamb slept and wept
As they drifted they heard a choir of voices.
Angels carried them to the Kingdom and they leapt.
They stood in the man’s forgiving hands and rejoice.
Shut eyes keep them sheltered;
Their hearts filtered.
“Little lamb, how the stars align
Little lamb, this is the world of divine.”


I noted the recurrence of the lamb and to my interpretation, the little lamb represented youth and the innocence of youth. Whenever a poem referred to a lamb, I imagine it to be a boy. Blake reveals an array of ideas about innocence and childhood and somehow the presence of the lamb in many of the poems stood out to me. Lambs are symbolic of children in many ways. The color of the lamb represents purity which is almost always attributed to children. They are innocent and know no evil. In my work above, the character role of the boy and the lamb is interchangeable and the effects will be the same in my opinion. I attempt at ending it with the ambiguity of the status of the boy similar to the way Blake leaves us thinking whether a death has occurred. Is he dead? Or is it simply wishful thinking? Blake somehow makes it seem as if the only way to reach the divine is through tragic, which is a scary thought.

– Van Vang

Joy is born

without knowing the sorrows of the world

his soul is pure and untainted

worry free and care free, he smiles

Joy is born

His mother rocks his cradle

back and forth

forth and back

she hums a sweet melody

all the while weeping in fear

fear of the time that is to one day come

the day Joy’s soul becomes tainted

In the meantime Joy grows

he laughs

he plays

living life freely, no worries

but the mud on his pants

One day Joy is confused

scared, alone, and in need

he calls for help

he is lost

but one day Joy is found

after his mother teaches prayers

Joy now calls to God

when he is confused



and in need of help

Joy smiles

with the wrinkles on his face

he runs his hands through the grey hairs on his head

he thinks “wow, what a time when nothing mattered,

but the mud on my pants”

oh how beautiful that thing they call childhood.


After reading Blake’s Songs of Innocence and going through the archive’s to select pictures for my post, I was inspired to really focus on the concept of childhood. Childhood is truly one of the best stages in life that I feel we really whiz by and never really take the moment to truly appreciate that time we have when our minds are free of corruption. There’s so much hate, injustice, and sorrow in the world that after we come to the realization of these things, we truly appreciate our childhood. Blake beautifully captures this idea of childhood, but more interestingly incorporates religion heavily throughout the poems. Almost as if God is a crucial part of this “coming of age”.

-Kimberly Martinez-Melchor



Our bodies were warm in the sun of morn,

As the other kids began to tease out my name.

“What a dork; he still needs mommy’s permission.”


Tugging on her arm, I cried, “please mama,”

Her gaze went over my head, “it is not up to me

“Child. Ask your father. And take your brother.”


“Alright. It’s your turn! I had to ask mom”

“Aw man. That’s no fair.”

I budged his arm as we approached him.


“Oh, uh hi dad. Can Willie and I go watch—”

“Hello children. Where are your clothes?”

We looked down at each other, “oh yeah, weird.”


“Anyways dad, Blake wanted to ask you something…”

He shook his attention back to Blake’s eyes, grabbing him, “yes?”

Blake pleaded, “can we please watch the old geezer play at the hill?”


Father looked over at me, at my nakedness.

“Oh, right,” I came to, “we’ll put on clothes before going.”

He laughed as he nodded and played with Blake’s chubby arms.


“Hey uh Blake… is it just me or does this guy kind of suck?”

He looked around at the crowd, “yeah. He’s kind of terrible. But

“why is everyone so into him?” He kept his watch on the crowd.


“I dunno. Maybe it’s an adult thing or something. I just can’t seem to—


He glanced over furiously, “where? Woah! That’s thing is awesome.”


I chose these images because they fit my narrative well–not to say my story was already set in stone before looking for them, but I had a general sense of how I wanted it to go. I wouldn’t take it extremely serious because the prompt didn’t ask to mimic Blake’s writing or tones. I wanted to illustrate the feelings of innocence by offering the story through the perspective of a child and his little brother wanting to fit in with the other kids. Ironically enough, I used a poetic form because I saw others do it as such. I would have preferred writing a short story in prose, but I figured since everyone else was doing poetry, my Genius would get scolded; and that’s why my story doesn’t read much like a poem or song.

–Daniel Lizaola Lopez


Tender and new is the baby born to thee

His warm eyes shine through the somber night

Filling the pastoral fields with glee

Sadly, only for a second, now the plants have become full of blight!


Tender and new is the child born to thee

His laugh ringing like bells upon the doors of your home

The daughters and sons run around with him, free

Tragically, now you can’t find the children, where could they have roamed?

Gone are all the children except for he

Could it be that the children are all decaying loam

As he sits with wide eyes under the big tree

Tender and new is the child born to thee

You left him lone in the pasture fearing he is guilty for the gloom

Or, worse, that he is so pure that God spared he

He who once lived inside the warmth of a womb

Is now left in the field without thee


I chose a poem for this blogpost because I wanted to emulate Blake’s poems from the reading. Specifically, “The Lamb” inspired my poem because of it’s repetition and the emphasis of the innocence of the child. He is called a “Little Lamb” several times in the poem. I chose the first image because it indicates that the child is a literal angel. The second image was chosen because it shows the family in a flower, indicating happiness and purity, however(!) there is another flower on the bottom next to it wilting. The last image I chose was of a lost child, which is rather terrifying to even imagine, I think this is why I gravitated towards it. I think the innocence of the child in this poem remains, and it is the adults that put meaning into random events. Adults try to recognize symbols, but what if there are none, and everything is culminated from random events. Thus, abandoning a child because of superstition says more about adults than children.

-Beyanira Bautista

Weeping Mother

She sat in lonely darkness admiring her new born baby, the light of the moon

Shining down on the baby boy as he gently was rocked into a slumber of peace.

She could feel the warmth of his angelic presence hit the deepest of her heart,

A sigh braking the silence as she thought to herself the desire to protect him.

To fight off his demons, the monsters in the dark,

Make them go away and never have him face it all alone.

The burdens living in a chaotic land full of disappointment and diswonderment .

Forever by his side as a mother always should be with those birthed to them

“Don’t let me go” he will say and she will be there to say “no I wont.”

Mommas Gotta Go

His cries and tears break through her skin as she sits there reminiscing of times before

He longs for her presence, he falls, he eats, he poops and he sleeps as far as she knows

What is a mother to do with her child when he craves that protection she once promised

The shroud of everything harmful to him, is all she clings to yet does not want to

But she knew in her heart that she could not always be there to protect him

To guide him, to lecture, to soothe him in all his maladies that figured into his life

She wanted him to learn that the world was dark and gloomy and not full of light

That she would be there but not all the time like she promised

She stepped to the crib and patted his back soothing his grief filled heart one last time

Finding the Light

He trudged on through the thickest darkness he had ever seen for his mama was gone

He feared the dark for so many times but she was always there to light up his world

Now sitting here alone he figured it was only time before she came

But mama never came

She was gone from his grasp only his silence kept him company

He could call out for help but no one would hear him

He would have to go at it alone and for the first time he would have to try


While writing I wanted to focus on themes that Blake deemed contrary state. I wanted the readers to sympathize with a mother troubled with raising her son who did not know whether to protect him from the atrocities of the world or expose him to it. It is this duality of parenting and whether keeping the truths of the world can really be deemed protecting that drives the mother. I wanted her to understand that there is nothing wrong with allowing children to understand the world for themselves. The world is black and white with shades of gray so why not explore it.

-Alexis Blanco

Before finding inner peace, I was lost.

Where can I venture to find peace within myself?

Along the path I see nothing but darkness,

My feet feel as if they are becoming one with the ground.

Never to move again.


Will I be forever trapped in this pit of darkness?

This realm of shadows filled with nothing but looming darkness,

The trees that hang o’er me seem to be closing in.

The little boy los

What is that light?

Do not leave me, allow me to wander with you.

I just want to follow you, let me see the light.

I do not want to be lost anymore.


Where am I now?

I can see more than I did before.

Are you the light I found?

Are you the one to guide me to the true light?


Please father, even with my sun burnt skin,

Allow me into your arms, allow me into your light.

Why is it impossible for you to accept me?

Why does the color of my skin matter?


Simply because his skin is fairer than mine,

He is allowed into your warm arms?

I thought you were all accepting?

It seems you are all accepting of fair skinned lambs,

For I am only a dark skinned lamb.


I decided to write a short poem/story about religion and acceptance because religion is supposed to be all around accepting. Though I began to think about cases where it might not be true. Like in slavery for instance, from the moment they were born, they were taught that they belong to people; people of fairer skin. We all share “one” God, but from the slave’s point of view, it probably seemed like the people who “owned” them, had life better than they did. They were able to roam free and enjoy the light, while the slaves continued living confined by chains and beaten by their “owners.” I incorporated mainly Eden and childhood in my short poem/story in the sense that the light the lost black lamb wanted to enter was his Eden. While with childhood, I chose to use lamb in the sense of a follower; a child of God, except in this case, he was rejected as a child of God.

-Anderson Tang

The little boy los

He abandoned me at my worst. He left me at my best.

He was nowhere to be found when I needed him the most.



Was there any emotion, any pain that traveled through his veins when he walked away?

Did he stop at the door, a feeling of regret possibly crossing his mind?

Or did he simply walk away?


Infant Joy

This will not define who I am.

This will not make me.

This will not rule me.

I’m alive.

I have health.

I am a child of God.

The Divine One is my father and He teaches me, and shows me to be happy.

To smile.


And I… I do these things. For Him.

For Me.

For my sanity.

On another sorrow

I will not have others feel pity for this fatherless boy.

I will not take it.

I choose to be happy.

To spread love and show them the joyful life I live.

That’s what I want them to feel.

My happiness, my smile, my humbleness.

Without it, we’re nothing but sad creatures dwelling on the phoniness of life.


I decided to write a short story that concerns the “parentless” / “abandonment” theme I noticed while reading the different plates. William Blake emphasizes heavy sympathetic and empathetic emotions in his writing and what I attempted to do was allow the speaker / protagonist of the story to show his vulnerable side by questioning this “abandonment” he’s faced with. Despite having a “sad” beginning, I decided to illuminate a sense of empowerment with the 2nd and 3rd plate. In the 3rd plate, rather than having the character feel sadness and take in other people’s pain (as is shown in On ANother’s Sorrow), I wanted him to feel empowered and spread that feeling around his community and share his happiness despite not having a male patriarchal figure raise him.