Powerful poetry often stems from ordinary or ugly ingredients

Topics: William Blake, Stanza, Poetry Pages: 3 (1280 words) Published: March 19, 2015
"Powerful poetry so often springs from the most ordinary or even the ugliest of ingredients" Poetry can be deemed powerful for many reasons, however, in the case of “Songs of Innocence and Experience” by William Blake, it is powerful due to the complex theological and philosophical ideas that he explores. Furthermore, what is interesting about Blake is that his poetry, on the surface seems simplistic in language, structure and form, and thus one could argue that the power of Blake’s poetry is determined by the readers interpretation of his deliberate ambiguity. This is supported by a quote from A.C. Swinburne; “To pluck the heart out of Blake’s mystery is a task every man must be left to attempt for himself”. It is the deliberate mystery of Blake that allows him to create powerful poetry from such ‘ordinary ingredients’. The Primary tool that Blake uses to create his powerful poetry from ordinary ingredients is by masking his meaning through a simple lexical choice. It has been said by T. S. Elliot, that Blake “presents only the essential”, meaning that Blake is deliberately ambiguous and leaves most up to the reader’s imagination. This is 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 “I 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 positivity. However, the fly is somewhat paradoxical, as it, while having a childish and naïve exterior, upon closer examination, reveals a far more complex and philosophical 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...
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