"Auguries of Innocence" by William Blake and some other writings
A slightly deprecatory introduction
This collection of photos spans almost 50 years and I have added some words from some of my favourite poems.
I make no claims of originality - I can't versify the way my good Hub friend Micky Dee does, so I have to rely on the poetic skills of others.
I also make no claims about the quality, artistic or otherwise, of the accompanying photos. They just seem like part of my life and I enjoy them. I share them in the hope that some readers might also find them at least interesting, and perhaps entertaining.
The photos are not meant to directly illustrate the poems. They are just images that I was reminded of by the words.
Auguries of Innocence
This must be one of the most quoted of Blake's poems, and none the worse for that. I have always loved this poem. Because most people only know the first verse I thought to put the complete poem here. (Since HubPages now has flagged this Hub as "duplicate" I am removing a lot of the poem, but it can be easily accessed in full here).
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.
The wild deer, wand'ring here and there,
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misus'd breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher's knife.
The gnat that sings his summer's song
Poison gets from slander's tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of envy's foot.
The poison of the honey bee
Is the artist's jealousy.
He who respects the infant's faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child's toys and the old man's reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.
The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.
The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.
The sick rose
Roses are so beautiful, so sensuous with their soft velvety petals and lovely scent, that the thought of a "sick" rose is sometimes rather unwelcome. Blake's famous poem is slightly shocking and pulls us up short. We do not want to lose the romantic associations we have with roses:
O Rose, thou art sick!
The Invisible worm,
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of Crimson joy;
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
A liitle jazz riff
The first group of accompanying photos were taken in 2009 at a tribute gig to the late, great tenorman Winston "Mankunku" Ngozi. The musicians are all students at a private jazz school in Mamelodi, Pretoria.
The next two are from a gig of my friend Ernest Mothle on bass at the State Theatre in Pretoria in 2010.
The final photo is of a street musician in Durban, taken in about 1970.
by Langston Hughes
Good morning, daddy!
Ain't you heard
The boogie-woogie rumble
Of a dream deferred?
Listen closely:You'll hear their feet
Beating out and beating out a --
You think It's a happy beat?
Listen to it closely:Ain't you heard
like a -- What did I say?
Sure, I'm happy!
Take it away!
- From Montage of a Dream Deferred (1951)
Childhood and its end
I found this delightful little poem here: http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/kimiko_hahn/poems/16585.html
by Kimiko Hahn
die or remain damaged
but return: stumps grow back hands,
a head reconnects to a neck,
a whole corpse rises blushing and newly elastic.
Later this vision is not True:
the grandmother remains dead
not hibernating in a wolf's belly.
Or the blue parakeet does not return
from the little grave in the fern garden
though one may wake in the morning
thinking mother's call is the bird.
Or maybe the bird is with grandmother
inside light. Or grandmother was the bird
and is now the dog
gnawing on the chair leg.
Where do the gone things go
when the child is old enough
to walk herself to school,
her playmates already
pumping so high the swing hiccups?
The text and all images on this page, unless otherwise indicated, are by Tony McGregor who hereby asserts his copyright on the material. Should you wish to use any of the text or images feel free to do so with proper attribution and, if possible, a link back to this page. Thank you.
© Tony McGregor 2011