A poem inspired by William Blake

A Poem inspired by Blake

“It seems that the deepest longing within humans has to do with the divine.”  John O’Donohue  ‘The Four Elements’

“We are fascinated by the words but where we meet is in the silence behind them” Ram Dass


When I visit exhibitions, perhaps in common with many but not with the few who can spend hours in front of one picture or painting, I like to walk quickly through and pick out those I like and wish to spend more time with.

I cannot usually do the slow walk, trying to digest all the information given and I deny myself the audio commentaries. It’s my selfish way! So this piece is not about the whole exhibition, and neither about William Blake himself, but about one picture and my exploration of my reaction to it.



Why did it pull me back? Why amongst all the others, those in colour

and those with more beauty, did this one pull me back?

Indeed, most left me cold, kept me where I am, on the sidelines.

It’s not the prodigal, all broken and sad but this more flowing,  joyous form.

The young man returning to the old and the melting of the two into one

and then their form together reaching out, pulling me back.


To be cleansed, to be fired, to be reclaimed

to dive into the divine, this is the inspiration.

Here the divine returns to itself and then makes a path for us, for me?

The hands the young one raised, opening to all,

the older, lightly touching but enclosing, welcoming.

The heads, one up, one down, rays shooting out from their meeting

the bodies, one almost flying in, the other bending,

opening, gently wrapping like a flower, with a rim of angels…


But then later, on investigation,  I find out that this is a preliminary. On the finished product the lines are stronger, the faces shown, the names and explanations given. It leaves me cold. This I prefer, it draws me.

Me, another preliminary.


Anthony Smith