William Blake Month: Brooding cares & anxious labors that prove but chaff

Quit your job and go on tour.


“Tracy,” Ryan McGinley, 2009.

You recoil back upon me in the blood
of the Lamb slain in his Children
Two bleeding Contraries, equally true,
are his Witnesses against me
We reared mighty Stones!
we danced naked around them:


“Hysteric Fireworks,” Ryan McGinley.
Thinking to bring Love into light of day,
to Jerusalem’s shame:
Displaying our Giant limbs
to all the winds of heaven! Sudden
Shame siezed us:
we could not look on one another for abhorrence.


“Fire Flip,” Ryan McGinley.

O what is Life & what is Man,
O what is Death? Wherefore
Are you my Children, natives in the Grave to where I go


“Hanna in wheatfield in American flag chair,” Nicole Lesser. 2009.
Or are you born
to feed the hungry ravenings of Destruction
To be the sport of Accident!
to waste in Wrath & Love, a weary
Life, in brooding cares & anxious labours,
that prove but chaff.

(William Blake, Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion.)

I do believe Mr. Blake is urging you to tune in, turn on, and drop out.


Paved paradise to etc.

Are you born “…to be the sport of accident and waste in wrath and love a weary life, in brooding cares and anxious labours, that prove but chaff”? No. I have said it before as a personal manifesto and I say again now despite my despondency this month and my dwelling over death and famine, that in the final analysis I do not believe we are born to feed the hungry ravenings of destruction, I cannot take the fatalistic, world-weary view that the average man is born cannon fodder in a long war between obscure forces richer and wider-reaching than we are.


Girl welder, 12, for the Australian Air Force, 1943. National Library of Congress collection on the flickr.

I can’t believe that is God’s plan for any single individual on this earth, no one can have been born for darkness and live only to push a wheel belowdecks to power someone else’s ship. I agree with this poem — shame and fear lead us to these empty lives of capitulation and lonely servitude to ideas forged by whatever money-hungry captain of industry’s self-serving philosophies are en vogue aided by the corrupt leaders of what could be beautiful religions. That is not the intent of our creation, I feel like that cannot be so, and if it keeps getting spread around that it is so, surely enough people are going to snap from their television-enhanced fast food comas and facebook opium haze and start a serious counterargument with words and deeds. I mean, they have to. If they don’t, then, my god, what is the point of existence even.

Oh, bother. It appears between this chain of thought and yesterday’s rants about Nazi propaganda that it is shaping up to be quite a week of Opinions. “I’m just a little black raiiinclouuuud …”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “William Blake Month: Brooding cares & anxious labors that prove but chaff”

  1. IzaakMak Says:

    Well said. Great art.

  2. Crystal Says:

    Indeed!!!!!!

  3. Kevin Says:

    I don’t picture Blake suffering from indecision in the same fashion as did those insipid youngsters who nibbled the crumbs of brilliance that fell from his lips (Wordsworth and Coleridge), but I don’t think this is him eschewing anxiety for something more bold. Rather, he’s contemplating the age-old “OR”: do you live as a deity, striding courageously across the heavens, or as a mouse with a knot in your gut? One enduring Classical approach is to chill the fuck out, as Spenser (the Irish-hating piss-worm) wrote in the Faerie Queen: “Neither to melt in pleasures whot desire, Nor fry in hartlesse griefe and dolefull teene.” Take the middle road: be light enough on your feet to jump from fast-food coma to Facebook opium stupor to doing shit that terrifies you, to indulging in some sketching, to posting comments on a ten-month old WordPress post that no other human will ever fecking see!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: