Blake defends his vision before an offended Reverend John Trusler, in 1877, who’d defined the art of the young man as too imaginative. Blake’s reply was full of wisdom and firmness: I really am sorry that you are fallen out with the spiritual world, especially if I should have to answer for it… If I am wrong, I am wrong in good company… What is grand is necessarily obscure to weak men. That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.
I feel that a man may be happy in this world. And I know that this world is a world of imagination and vision. I see every thing I paint in this world, but everybody does not see alike. To the eyes of a miser, a guinea is far more beautiful than the Sun, and a bag worn with the use of money has more beautiful proportions than a vine filled with grapes. The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity, and by these, I shall not regulate my proportions; and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. As a man is, so he sees. […] You certainly mistake, when you say that the visions of fancy are not to be found in this world. To me, this world is all one continued vision of fancy or imagination… William Blake
Animals see the unobstructed world with their whole eyes. But our eyes, turned back upon themselves, encircle and seek to snare the world, setting traps for freedom. The faces of the beasts show what truly IS to us: we who up-end the infant and force its sight to fix upon things and shapes, not the freedom that they occupy, that OPENESS which lies so deep within the faces of the animals, free from death!
Could that surefooted beast, approaching from a direction different than our own, aquire the mental knack to think as do we, he would spin us round and drag us with him. But he is without end unto himself: devoid of comprehension, unselfscrutinized, pure as his outgoing glance. We see future; he sees eternal completion. Himself in all.
From Rilke's 8th Duino Elegy
Another tr. Earth's creatures look wide-eyed into the Open. Our eyes, alone, as though reversed, are ringed like snares around free exit. What lies outside, is clearly shown us in the animal's face. The creature gazes into openness with all its eyes. But our eyes are as if they were reversed, and surround it, everywhere, like barriers against its free passage.
New Heaven and Earth (DHL) I And so I cross into another world shyly and in homage linger for an invitation from this unknown that I would trespass on. I am very glad, and all alone in the world, all alone, and very glad, in a new world where I am disembarked at last. I could cry with joy, because I am in the new world, just ventured in. I could cry with joy, and quite freely, there is nobody to know. And whosoever the unknown people of this un- known world may be they will never understand my weeping for joy to be adventuring among them because it will still be a gesture of the old world I am making which they will not understand, because it is quite, quite foreign to them.
And so for some lasting seconds I could think the deer were waiting for me To remember the password and sign ... The deer had come for me. (D H Lawrence)
One other I look for whom within your ranks I love, where hidden from the alien guest, from one, you keep the last of your kind, the treasured gem of the house … (Holderlin in ‘Der Gnzige)
Christmas: Lost or Found? Robins tapping on the window, Snowflakes falling on the ground, All the things we take for granted – Christmas lost? Or Christmas found? All that sentimental magic, Angels and their heavenly sound, No more carols, oh, how tragic, Memories with tears drowned. ‘Deck the halls’ with wreaths of holy, Mantlepiece with glitter crowned. Baby Jesus, Santas jolly, Families all homeward bound. Come you faithful, sing your hearts out Place your feet on hallowed ground. Seeds of hope are firmly planted, May the Season’s Joy abound.
TABERNACLE Come, let us build a temple in oblivion with seven veils, and an innermost Holy of Holies of sheer oblivion. And there oblivion dwells, and the silent soul may sink into god at last, having passed the veils. But anyone who shall ascribe attributes to God or oblivion let him be cast out, for blasphemy. For God is a deeper for getting far than sleep and all descriptions is a blasphemy. D H Lawrence
Future Religion The future of religion lies in the mystery of touch. The mind is touchless, so is the will, so is the spirit. First comes death, then the pure aloneness, which is permanent then the resurrection into touch. (D H Lawrence)