Friday, August 03, 2007

Poetry Friday: Broken Love

I started this yesterday, but got called away, so Poetry Friday is a day late.

Here is a stanza by William Blake, which I first read in a book by Charles Williams called All Hallows Eve:

`And throughout all Eternity
I forgive you, you forgive me.
As our dear Redeemer said:
"This the Wine, and this the Bread."'
The whole poem is called Broken Love and though I've read it over and over, I can't figure out what it means. Still, it's that strangeness that makes you feel that if you just turned around quickly enough, the thing you glimpsed out of the corner of your eye would be seen clearly if only for an instant. I imagine that this is the territory he tried to depict.

Further, it seems that the world you glimpse out of the corner of your eye isn't exactly the world you actually live in.... it's just a bit out of kilter, a bit fey. I get that same feeling from reading George MacDonald's Phantastes, and from Charles Williams.

Wordsworth said of Blake:

There was no doubt that this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott."
There is a bit more about William Blake here. This is the beginning of the poem:

MY Spectre around me night and day
Like a wild beast guards my way;
My Emanation far within
Weeps incessantly for my sin.

‘A fathomless and boundless deep,
There we wander, there we weep;
On the hungry craving wind
My Spectre follows thee behind.

‘He scents thy footsteps in the snow

Wheresoever thou dost go,
Thro’ the wintry hail and rain.
When wilt thou return again?
Reminds me a bit of Wuthering Heights, too.

But there's something resonant about that "I forgive you, you forgive me" ..... something that sums up a quality of the wounded yet enduring element in human love, that partakes of the divine.

1 comment:

Violetta said...

There is something in the poem that frightens me - it's when he says
‘And, to end thy cruel mocks,
Annihilate thee on the rocks,
And another form create
To be subservient to my fate.

Does he want to kill her?
And there are a lot of things I don't understand here.
like: what or who are they - the seven loves?
and why is the love"broken", it should be just "unrequited" because why would SHE mock ar him if she loves him, too?