William Blake Month: “Rose, thou art sick”


Marilyn Monroe on her honeymoon. Arthur Miller in background.

O rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy,
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

(William Blake, “The Sick Rose.”)

This is a bad day. Bad things are happening. Shocking, incomprehensible things miles away, coming at a time when I thought accords were being reached and newer, happier stages begun. I don’t understand any of it and there’s nothing I can do to make it better because none of it is anything I’ve done, even though it will all deeply impact me for a long time to come. Once again, I do not control the events of my own life.


Photographed by Andre de Dienes.

All I can do is keep praying for the safety of people I care about, even if I sense they would not care either way about my concern, and hope for peaceful resolutions to their conflicts. I also need to remember that I have my own personal life with its own dreams and priorities, and make sure I am tending to those in order to succeed on my own, and putting a true emphasis on the good, kind, wonderful people involved in my immediate present with the proper attention and attitude. I can’t spend all my time numb, indifferent to food, and losing hair and sleep over lives and behaviors that I am not sure I can ever understand.

My real life is not knots in my stomach and pacing around, but is the glad things that bring me joy; my real self and its happiness comes from my friends and family and spending time doing the things I love, like writing, reading, teaching, and photography. Not agonizing and gaining grey hairs over pre-existing situations that I could never better in a month of Sundays. It’s not that I will stop trying, it’s just that I will stop staking my identity and emotions on it. That’s not who I am. A happy person who deliberately seeks friends and family in a positive and creative environment: that is who I really am. I have to remind myself of that.

Soon, I will take my grandmother and we will go pick up kidlet from her last day of kindergarten, and take her out for a girls’ lunch, and I will lay these dark times aside to let her light shine on me for awhile.

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