Hey there! Welcome to our blog. We hope it helps you to better understand some of the poems and art by William Blake in a fun, creative way. Enjoy and feel free to comment!


'The Little Black Boy'

Since my article review refers to Blake’s “Little Black Boy” quite a bit, I figured I should do one of my posts on the poem itself. As you can see, the poem was written as well as illustrated by Blake, and the art that goes along with the poem really gives the poem the most powerful effect. The weeping willow is the graphic that stands out the most to me, especially since in real life weeping willows are my favorite trees. Upon doing a little research, I learned that weeping willows actually symbolize dreams and hope, which fits the poem perfectly. In the poem, a mother is comforting her son and telling him that God is there and that the sun brings them both good things. In the first picture, the little boy appears to be black, while in the second there is no mistaking that his skin is pale. “And these black bodies and this sunburnt face, Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.” In this quote, she is speaking of how having black skin holds then back, “clouding” them from the rest of the world. The irony within the poem is that Blake was very much against slavery, and wanted blacks to be able to be free. The way that God is spoken of, (“And gives His light, and gives His heat away”) makes me think that Blake is trying to get through to the reader that God loves us no matter what the color of our skin is, and His love is unconditional, while at the same time the slaves have a closer connection to God. When I read this poem, I felt like it’s just packed full of hope and Blake wants the reader to really understand the perspective it’s coming from after a thorough read. I also felt like this poem is one of the strongest pieces of evidence I have read of his work that really shows us his abolitionist opinion. My favorite part of the poem is when Blake says “Look on the rising sun: there God does live, And gives His light, and gives His heat away, And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday”, because the message he is trying to convey is how much closer slaves became to God because of their suffering, and he was doing all he could to help their suffering (due to slavery) end.

Article: 'Blake's Antislavery Designs for Songs of Innocence and of Experience'

Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake is among his most famous and renowned pieces of literature. Blake was a Romantic Poet, and in doing so he shared the ideals of his fellow Romantics, such as Wordsworth and Shelley. These ideals, such as getting away from civilization and anti-capitalism, shaped every aspect of the Romantic lifestyle, including Blake’s opinion towards the Slavery still in effect during this period. This is an aspect I had never realized prior to reading the article “Blake’s Antislavery Designs for Songs of Innocence and of Experience” by Christine Gallant of Georgia State University. I’ve learned so much about the abolitionist movement in History class and the effect it had on society, but I never realized how widespread the movement became. In the article, Gallant explains just how strongly Blake was against Slavery and how much he actually contributed to the abolitionist movement. In Songs of Innocence, the plant Blake chooses to draw is the sugar cane. Sugar cane was an extremely labor intensive plant for slaves to gather and harvest, a fact that the reader must realize in order to really understand the intended impact. The Sugar canes Blake drew had sharp edged pointed leaves that somewhat resembled knives, and Blake also included fire in Songs which was the first indication of slave revolt throughout the West Indies. It was also the method used to punish slave revolt leaders in an attempt to serve as a message to other slaves who were forced to watch. “Blake emphasizes the Biblical point that man was created “in the image of God”, a sly reminder to those of a missionary bent that the “divine image” comes in many colors” (Gallant 127). This passage is definitely a key point in her article. Blake emphasizes that if God created Blacks too, it was obviously for a reason, and that reason is not so they can be enslaved by white men. It is quite common for grape vines and sugar canes to be entwined in Blake’s work. It is emphasized in the article that grape vines symbolize liberation and sugar canes imply slavery. Liberation and slavery lead to abolitionism, Blake’s key point. “The Little Black Boy” is the most abruptly abolitionist poem among the Songs collection. The art along with the poetry show the black boy kneeling, while in another picture he is beneath a willow tree, which symbolizes dreams, life and healing. Blake is saying that even though the fate of this boy is inevitable, there is still hope for abolitionism. The author provides these examples in order to open the eyes of the reader.

My interpretation of the article has definitely opened my eyes to how Blake felt toward slavery. It never occurred to me how significantly the Romantic world connected to more than just art and poetry. There is no denying that Blake left several subtle hints in his work, while other times there was no mistaking that he was antislavery (such as in “The Little Black Boy”). After reading the article, I found myself finding more and more clues among Blake’s work that highlight his view on the slavery topic. The United States fought in the Civil War in order to put an end to Slavery plantations for good, but it took a lot of work and support towards abolitionism in order to get to that point, and obviously the work of the Romantics contributed a lot to this along with antislavery support from around the world. Blake’s work contributed not only to abolitionism being successful in the United States, but in the British Empire as well. The way Blake was able to leave the reader with a lasting effect, especially with “The Little Black Boy”, made his work to end slavery that much more powerful and clear. Blake’s work was very persuasive and tastefully done. In my mind, I think about how Blake turned people against slavery through his writing and art in the same way Stephenie Meyer has glorified vampires and created a crazy mass fan base because of her “Twilight” series, especially the effect her writing leaves on the female readers. Slavery was seen as the villain in the same way that vampires are glorified in today’s society. Blake’s most dangerous and significant weapon in his fight to end slavery was his pen and his palette, and the effects of his work have remained widespread in the years to follow.

Prose Poem; Adapting to Change

Life as I used to know it. Life as I know it now.
Why must it be this way?
Disoriented and confused, where am I? How did I possibly end up here?
I think back to the way it used to be. Back when things were easy and life was simple and I felt free as a bird.
I used to find the beauty in the smalls things.
I focus on the little things in life that keep me happy.
The little things were enough. But when things change, the years pass, people around me change, I change; it’s not. I see the world through a tunnel. The thing I want the most is right in front of my face, and everything behind it is out of focus. I blur it out like I’m just waking up from anesthesia. Only the difference now is you’re my anesthesia, and everything apart from you is blurry.
So when things changed, people changed, I changed, the one thing that didn’t change is you. Something I alone can decipher, someone I alone can understand. The light at the end of the tunnel as one might say.
It started as a distraction, intriguing to the point of mindlessness. Intrigued to the starting point, intrigued by the way the world shifts around you.
Now, in the end, I see the whole picture. Where I used to focus on one beautiful rose hidden among the entire painting, I now see the way the clouds illuminate the grass and brighten the mood.
So then is change a good thing? When your world shifts, should you too? When your feet aren’t touching the ground anymore, when all you see is up and there are no limits, no boundaries. When you grow up and there’s that one moment when you know things will never be the same, and that’s a good thing. The world changes, and if I don’t adapt too, what will I be left with? That’s when I go after it.

le parti rabbia dell'oceano; Prose Poem

Sinking, while gravity pushed back down, envision a small brick tied to your ankle slowly pulling you back down. Drifting through the water, it rocks you back and forth. Your knees knocking together with the force of the waves, forgetting how to feel do to the numbing sinking in sharp needle’s, piercing your spine all at once. Tossing in the water, you begin to panic not knowing which way is up. The water rushes into your lungs and takes over. I’m drowning when I close my eyes, while falling. I can’t breathe tonight. I’m singing myself to sleep tonight, haunted by each memory. Which is true and which is false? The ice has settled under my ribs and nestled into my veins. Life is for living, in order to live you must feel alive. . The muscles begin to cramp; the blood is at halt through my veins. The oceans rough floor becoming more and more visible. Eye lids become heavy. No feeling of the sharp ridges of the rocks surrounding. Black, the shade experienced during shut eye, an aglow comparison to the dark shade appearing around me. Nature continues to take over. The heavy feeling begins to fade, seeping through the bitter ocean waters. Attain for the top. Reaching closer within each separate stroke taken. The Piercing waters begin to defrost the corpse inside out. Land is rushing near, sand sticking to the epidermis. Tossing through the shallow waters warmer water begins to surround my frame. Day breaks through the dark sky, and diminishes the storm. Slammed into the sand, my body begins to ache. My fingers begin to tingle, slowly getting the feeling back in them. Gasping for air, the water in my lungs begin to flee, oxygen fills my flooded lungs. I ask myself, “why am I alive?”, “why here?”, and “why now?” The falling sensation experienced during slumber pulls my body straight down. I open my eyes to find myself lying on the old wooden dock, looking out to sea.

William Blake's only surviving palette?

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Modern Day William Blake

In this short video you will see Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner argue over William Blake in the movie, Bull Durham.