Tag Archive: the divine


A Fatherless Boy

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.

Why?

How?

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.

Laugh.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Milton’s proclamation that he must “go down to self annihilation and eternal death” is accompanied by the threat “Lest the Last Judgment come & find me unannihilate / And I be siez’d & giv’n into the hands of my own Selfhood” (Plate 15, lines 23-24). Self annihilation in this sense refers not to physical destruction but to the mental, emotional, and spiritual crucifixion of the self: the destruction of the old, entrenched ways of living in favor of the new. The overarching message of “Milton: A Poem” is Blake’s version of Jesus’s admonition in Matthew 16:25: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

“Losing one’s life” in the context of this verse and of “Milton” is to destroy the power of the self over the spiritual state in order to gain the power of God over one’s soul. Blake’s interpretation of the Fall posits that Man severed his relationship to God, in which the divine was in direct communication with the mortal, in favor of an entirely human-centered focus. Blake does not dismiss the power or importance of the human element of faith, but he does affirm his belief in the importance of looking to the divine as the focus of one’s life. Only opening one’s mind and spirit to the power and methods of the divine (this is, of course, encapsulated in Blake’s idea of the “poetic genius”) can free the soul from the bonds of human-constructed laws and systems that proscribe the inspiration and creation of the imagination. “Dying to self” is thus the tenet by which Blake would have every person live: he affirms a mortal life that is nonetheless centered on the divine and anticipates the ultimate communication with God throughout eternity.

The consequence of failing to “self-annihilate” is to be condemned to Hell at the Last Judgment, or the final coming of Christ. To Blake, Hell, or eternal suffering, is encapsulated in the idea of “Selfhood”: an almost independent entity that, when given full reign over a person’s consciousness, places him in a state of constant self-awareness. Given the dominance of moral law, specifically that of the all-powerful Church, over an individual’s conscience, self-awareness in this life leads to a constant examination and condemnation of one’s “sinful” motives. For Blake is focusing primarily on the differences between the moral state propounded by the Church and that which he believes is the one truly in line with Christ’s life on Earth and the power of the divine present in humanity. According to Blake, mortal systems for regulating the conduct of one’s life emphasize constant evaluation of the self and one’s actions in place of a God-centered faith in which the divine is expressed via human creation and art.

To Blake, a constant focus on one’s own self – one’s thoughts, actions, and motivations – allows self-centeredness to become the compass of an individual soul. Every thought and event is evaluated in relation to the self. Conversely, a God-centeredness opens the door for the type of artistic imagination and production of which Blake is a staunch proponent.

Poetic Genius and Religion

Blake’s Philosophy of Art is impossible to seperate from his philosophy on religion. We know from our reading thus far that the poetic genius is a key part of the artistic process for Blake. But it is difficult for us to understand exactly what this genius entails. I don’t propose to be able to answer that question, but I do think that any full answer is going to contain some element of the divine. Blake has said how visions are of infinite importance to the artist. Because the visions are so critical, their source must be equally critical to our lives. I believe that the only possible source that would hold that level of importance to Blake is the divine. There must be some overlap between poetic genius and God.