“Sooner murder an infant in it`s cradle than nurse unacted desires.”

~~ Proverbs of Hell, William Blake ~~

It is very easy to take the poetry of William Blake at face value: at times it can seem contradictory, confusing and illogical; but the Devil in William`s poetry is always in the details. It seems as if he is advocating infanticide here, when actually he is giving an implicit rather than a surface meaning. In plain view, there is a pun around the lines “infant” and “nurse”. They are both the same thing. William is not saying kill babies if you really feel the need to, but it` s better to kill those desires than nourish ones you can never satisfy.

He is such a clever and thoughtful old soul: it seems impossible to exhaust the labyrinthine intelligence and sheer wonder of his skill at keeping us endlessly thinking and pondering the hidden meaning of his work. He is the Mount Everest of poetry: and his readers are busily scrambling about the surface of his genius, like rock climbers seeking out the next safe crack to place a hand for our faltering certainties.

With William Blake, nothing is certain, and everything is hidden in plain view. All we need to do is open the doors of perception.

The Inscription over the Gate 1824-7 by William Blake 1757-1827

2 thoughts on “PROVERBS OF HELL

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