This s evident when looking at “The Fly’ in “Songs of Experience”, because on the surface, the poem seems pleasant and innocent due to the Joyous lexis. For example: “summers play’, and “l dance/ And drink & sing” these both have very positive connotations and infer inherent happiness. Furthermore, the plosive nature of the second quote gives it a rhythm akin to that of a dance, and therefore it supports the reading of positivist. However, the fly is somewhat paradoxical, as it, while having a childish and naive exterior, upon closer examination, reveals a far more complex and helicopters meaning.
This is shown in the fourth stanza – “If thought is life/ And strength & breath/ And the want/ of thought is death”. Within this stanza the true power is revealed, as the reader begins to see elements of Cartesian philosophy, whereby they see Blake viewing the mind as being wholly separate from the corporeal body. Furthermore this stanza may also suggest, more simply that a lack of thought can lead to death, which although obvious, is more powerful than the original simple lexis would suggest.
A final reading of this stanza could be that Blake s criticizing religious myopia, and this is supported by the final couplet of “And the want/ Of thought is death. ” The aforementioned reading is also supported by “Till some blind hand/ Shall brush my wing”, the use of the word blind could potentially be referring to a blind higher being, or God. The final example of ordinary or ugly ingredients producing powerful poetry is seen through the final stanza “Then am l/ A happy Fly,] If I live/ Or if I die. This seemingly shows the poet contemplating his own life, and how insignificant he is in the overall scheme of humanity. This is mainly shown through the questions he poses which are unanswerable to anyone but himself – “Then am l/ A happy fly’. This clearly shows us a state of contemplation and perhaps indicates that the speaker does not know himself, and therefore begins to contemplate his own insignificance. There is also clear evidence of a simple Lexis masking Flake’s meaning in “The Angel”; for example; “l dreamt a dream”, as well as the repetition of the word “And”.
The latter of these example is an anaphora, as well as being polytechnics, this in turn conveys naivety, and also enhances the readers elegant overall image of the poem. However, once again there is a far deeper philosophical meaning. Due to the self-centered nature of the poem, where the speaker dreams that she is a “maiden queen” there is perhaps the suggestion that Flake’s poem is underpinned by Freudian Psychology, whereby the Maiden queen is the speaker’s ‘super-ego. Once again this is a far deeper meaning than was initially suggested. Another technique used by Blake is that of the structure and form of the poem.
This is once again seen in the “The Lamb”. On the surface, this poem is totally innocent and about a lamb. Due to the bucolic imagery and setting such as: “By the stream & o’er the mead” and the symbol of the “Lamb”. This emphasizes the picturesque setting and atmosphere that perhaps connotes elements of softness. This is further highlighted by the trochaic rhythm, as the falling beat encapsulates the softness of the surroundings. Furthermore, the repetition of the word “little” again emphasizes the gentleness due to its childlike connotations.
However, there is a much deeper message conveyed within this poem. It has been said by Northrop Frye that Blake provides us with a “technique of realizing a higher reality’, meaning hat his poetry encourages us to think on a higher level, and perhaps to break free from the chains of conventional thinking. Taking this into account, there is a suggestion that the above factors could potentially embody Christ. Furthermore, given that William Blake was a Christian, it makes sense that his poetry should have underlying Christian messages.
Additionally, there is a distinctly simple rhyme scheme which in turn creates a very powerful message. The uniformity could potentially highlight the transcendentalism of God. Which again is a much deeper meaning than the simple ingredients used would suggest. Nelson Hill holds a deconstructionist view of Blake, and therefore states that “Flake’s strategy for unlocking the reader is the multiplication of significance” this once again shows that the reader must engage with the simple ingredients in order to create the powerful message.
This is embodied by the poem “London”, during which Blake criticizes humanity for imprisoning themselves in their mind. The simple nature of the outspoken protest contrasts to the aforementioned implicit criticism, as at first glance, the poem simple seems to be about the city of London, however, ultimately, it s a total protest against the industrious world, as it is creating a wave of dissatisfaction. Given the time at which Blake wrote the collection this is understandable due to all of the social injustices that were created due to the industrial revolution.
This is supported by a quote from Thomas Pain – “It is a perversion to say that a charter gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect – that of taking rights away’. This clearly highlights the negative stigma that Blake held towards industrialization. In addition to this, Blake makes mention of the civil wars hat are occurring across the world during this time, and this again highlights the reading of dissatisfaction. This is shown through the line “runs in blood down palace walls”.
The use of the word “blood” highlights the brutality of the change. Furthermore, Blake criticizes the Church, as, again, at the time this was written, he believes the church is overly materialistic, and thus is not conveying the true message of Christianity. This is shown through the line “Every blackening church appeals”. The use of the word “Blackening” and “appeals” give a somewhat negative IEEE of the church and therefore we are inclined to support the reading that this poem is a criticism of the church.
To conclude, it is very much accurate to say that powerful poetry is often created from ordinary or ugly ingredients. In the case of Blake, it is essential to have his simple ingredients in order to allow people access to the higher meaning and higher reality if they engage with the ambiguity of Blake and are able to let their imagination engage, because in doing so, we break free from our “mind-forgo manacles”. As stated by Nelson Hill: “Blake gives us to understand that man serves as his own Jailer