Monday, 18 November 2013

Words of the Week #15

Look for the tired, well-thumbed ones -
They always have the best poetry 
Bring on the Blake! - because this week were doing a classic.

As part of the annual chain-yourself -to-the-library-desk-late-night-revision-cram that we all have experienced, I find myself always taking up the seats in the poetry section of the University's Arts and Social Sciences Library. As a Medical Student, I have quickly found that short term goals and self-gratifications is the only way to get through a mountain of work (I personally find strategically covering up parts of paragraphs with jelly beans highly effective!) It was during one of these moments around 2 am in a morning,  after a last ditch attempt at wrangling with the spinothalamic pathway of the brain, I decided on taking a peruse around the shelves. That's when I found this beauty!

On Thin, Delicate Pages - as if the words will
dissolve away if you press too hard 

From a dusty forgotten corner of the library, I found a copy of William Blakes poems which not only included the famous"The Tyger" but also earlier drafts and versions of "TheTyger." it was incredibly interesting to see how such a well known and rhythmic poem developed and how different it could of been!

The Tyger

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes? 
On what wings dare he aspire? 
What the hand dare sieze the fire? 

And what shoulder, & what art. 
Could twist the sinews of thy heart? 
And when thy heart began to beat, 
What dread hand? & what dread feet? 

What the hammer? what the chain? 
In what furnace was thy brain? 
What the anvil? what dread grasp 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp? 

When the stars threw down their spears, 
And watered heaven with their tears, 
Did he smile his work to see? 
Did he who made the Lamb make thee? 

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
- William Blake

ReferenceBLAKE, W. & SAMPSON, J. 1913. The poetical works of William Blake : including the unpublished French Revolution, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

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