William Blake’s Powerful Words Of Poetry

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Poetry, I believe, is another language in literature. Poets are allowed to express their feelings artistically and, words are authentic. William Blake is an exceptional example of what a great poet is. He has a unique poetic writing style that makes a reader think. Blake used what he had seen and experienced to develop great poems. Also, many of his poems are about his life and childhood experiences. However, this paper will dissect several poems and see how it resembles his life. Also, how religion was a huge factor of most of his writings. His belief in God was beyond him and his life here on Earth.

William Blake is a 19th-century writer, born in the SoHo district of London, England, which was one influence on his writings. However, his poem ‘London’ is about a person taking a stroll through London streets, and their observations. Also, London in the 19th century was full of crime with extreme poverty, the French Revolution took a place in the 19th century. However, I chose this poem because of the specific geographic location. Also, the speaker talks about the ‘bad’ side of London. The first and second stanza states it, ‘I wander thro’ each charter’d street, Near where the charter’d Thames does flow’ (Blake), charter’d mean controlling and/or killing something. Blake grew up with these conditions his whole life and found a way to survive. Also, this poem is included in ‘Song of Innocence & Experience’ but there is no sense of innocence portrayed in this poem. Stanza eight reads, ‘The mind-forg’d manacles I hear’ (Blake), meaning nobody is innocent, because of something keeping them enslaved. He touches on chimney sweepers, “how the Chimney-sweeper’s cry Every blackning Church appalls” (Blake), chimney sweepers were children who needed to make money to survive in London at the time. Blake watched this happen, he wrote this expressing how London was not pretty at this time. Also, he expresses the sense of death a lot in this poem. He talked about the “Runs in blood down Palace walls” (Blake), which paints the image that a person or many people has died. However, he published this poem, five years after the start of the French Revolution. Also, the tone of the poem tells the reader he disappointed in his city. Blake discusses the misery and weakness going on, as he walks through the streets of London.

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Slavery of colored people by the English was a problem, William Blake wrote a poem titled “The Little Black Boy.” This poem triggered many emotions because he had some real powerful words. Blake is religious and is very familiar with the bible, so this poem portrays purity. In stanza one, line two and three he says, “And I am black, but O! My soul is white; White as an angel is the English child” (Blake), the color of his skin is black but his soul is white, meaning purity. Also, throughout the poem, the little boy’s mother was a symbol of unselfish love, she kept her son’s self esteem up at all cost without degrading the next race. Her exact words were, “these black bodies and this sun-burnt face – Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove” (Blake), she lets her son know most delightfully that even if some associate a black body with despair, he still belongs, and god will still wrap his arms around him. Furthermore, as I read this poem, I realized that Blake did not see color because he knew his god was a loving accepting god. However, in the last stanza of the poem, the son refers to himself as a white child, “ And thus I say to little English boy. When I from black and he from white cloud free, And round the tent of God like lambs we joy” (Blake). This line left me speechless because he knew both he and the white child will go to heaven. However, he knew that he would be more spiritually accepted because of all he had sustained on earth. Furthermore, this poem, in my opinion, was influenced by Blake’s life because he watched it happen. He lived during the century of slavery and racism, and his bible was a driving force in his life. Which is why he knew slavery was wrong, he expressed that no matter the color of the skin when people get to heaven God doesn’t see skin color, but the soul of the person. Also, as I said, God is loving and non-judgemental, and he loves all children.

Chimney sweeping was a job for young children, back in the 19th century. Also, it was dangerous and caused a lot of young children to be ill. However, William Blake’s poem ‘The Chimney Sweeper’ touches on the dangers of chimney sweeping and its effects. The speaker in this poem is a chimney sweeper, and he’s telling readers about the business. The first line in stanza one is, ‘When my mother died I was very young’ (Blake), a gut-punching start of a poem because he does not express the exact age he was when she passed. He goes on to say, ‘And my father sold me while yet my tongue – Could scarcely cry ‘ ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!’ So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep’ (Blake), this boy could not even speak before his father went and auctioned him off to be a chimney sweeper. Blake talks about in chimney sweepers in several poems he felt deep sorrow for these young boys. Let’s refer back to the poem, ‘London’ where a man strolled through the streets of London and heard the cries of chimney sweepers. However, as the poem continues, the speaker introduces another chimney sweeper named Tom Dacre, ‘ There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head That curled like a lamb’s back, was shaved’ (Blake), obviously his hair was curly and he cried as it got shaved off. The speaker tells us a little more about Tom, but then he explains either a vision or dream. He says, ‘That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack,

Were all of them locked up in coffins of black’ (Blake), which means that these sweepers are dead, because as we know chimney sweeping is a dangerous business. However, in stanza five, the speaker says, ‘ And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy, He’d have God for his father & never want joy’ (Blake), which made it seem God is only a father to those who are good, but he didn’t choose to be a chimney sweeper he had no option or alternative. Also, I think the angel was telling Tom to be happy because once he gets to heaven, he will no longer carry this burden. However, Blake’s main themes were suffering and death reason being, because chimney sweeping was a disgusting business, causing many diseases. Those diseases led to the death of a lot of young children, with an entire life ahead of them. This poem influenced Blake’s life because he witnessed it, and once again he knows God is willing to take this burden off of these boys.The Tyger is one of William Blake’s most influential poems. This poem has a powerful tone, which makes the words jump off the page at you. However, the speaker starts off saying, ‘Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night’ (Blake), meaning how strong the presence of the Tyger in the forest was. Also, the speaker used the words referring to fire a lot, as if he was referring to hell. In stanza two, line one he says, ‘In what distant deeps or skies’ (Blake), distant deeps as if he was talking about the distant deeps of hell or the skies of heaven. However, when skipping down to stanza five, lines 17 and 18, ‘When the stars threw down their spears And water’d heaven with their tears’ (Blake), being a Christian and knowing a little about the bible, in my mind, he was referring to when satan revolt against God. Also, in stanza five, lines 17-20 talked heavily about Christian beliefs in a stunning way, because you have to read in-between the lines to understand. However, in this poem also, Blake refers back to the bible when he used Revelations 12:7-9, which explained how satan was once an angel in heaven. However, in this poem also, Blake refers back to the bible when he used Revelations 12:7-9, which explained how satan was once an angel in heaven. Also, he talks about how powerful the Tyger was and it shined bright in the night forest, referring to how the would not be messed with and other animals will think twice before messing with it.

In all William Blake’s poems, there’s a common theme, which is religion. He always found a way to include the bible, his writings, heavily relied on the bible and God. Also, angels, churches, and God are talked about heavily in his writings. His belief in God inspired him to express his feelings towards sticky situations. Such as the poverty that was occurring in London in the 19th century, slavery, and the famous chimney sweeping business. However, he took what he saw during his lifetime and expressed it with a twist of religious beliefs. However, he did it in a way where he was not putting his beliefs off onto his readers but using it to prove his point. Also, his mother taught him the bible young, and he carried it out throughout his entire life. However, I think it began to set in when he lost his brother Robert. That life-changing event opened his mind, and his imagination was beyond his control. God helped this poet through a lot of circumstances in life, and he represented the man above every chance he got. Furthermore, I find it interesting how William Blake’s poetry can be so powerful, with the usage of the bible. Reason being, is because he uses it in an authentic way, you have to read his poems two or three times before understanding what he’s talking about.

In conclusion, William Blake’s work is authentic and built on solidarity. His belief in a higher power takes his poems to the next level without overpowering other lines in the poem. Also, in these four poems, he referenced something holy or religious. Biblical ideas make his work pop over other poets we have gone over in class. His words are powerful, and his information to reinforce them is impeccable.  


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