DAILY PHOTO: Franciscan Garden, Bratislava
Bangalore’s Urban Solace Cafe (https://www.facebook.com/UrbanSolaceCafe) does something cool, and kind to poets, for World Poetry Day. They have a “Pay with a Poem” event allowing people to buy a cup of coffee with an original poem today. So, if you’re in the Ulsoor Lake neighborhood, show them some love. My submission is below.
FOR THE LOVE OF COFFEE It’s said we each have one true love. I fear I may have two. Oh Coffee, dearest black coffee, I love your rich brown hue. I love your lava-like hotness, and how you energize. Some have said you’re bad for my heart, but that’s a pack of lies. I’ll consume you in the morning, but cautiously at night. For if I take you in the eve, there'll be Aubades at first light.
Our plight is craving perfection in an imperfect world: imperfectly perceived, imperfectly performed, imperfectly programmed. To have a mind that can imagine perfection, but never attain it creates a special hell vehicle.
pink trumpet flowers,
in dense clustered spheres,
break up spring’s blue sky
It’s been said that Blake’s poetry is nearly impenetrable. When people say this, they’re referring to a series of long poems that are often called Blake’s “prophetic books.” It’s not that people struggle much with Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience, or The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. I doubt anyone is stumbling their way through “The Lamb” or “The Tyger.” In fact, some of Blake’s poetry is highly readable for eighteenth century work.
The challenge is that Blake created his own mythology and he launches in with all these characters that have no sticking power for a reader. This is unfortunate as Blake remains well worth reading for his ideas, his language, and his sui generis worldview. [Even if he doesn’t win you over, Blake will give you something to think about that you’ve probably never considered before.] Blake’s mythology forces the reader to choose between a painstaking read (making notes, re-reading sections multiple times, stopping dead to make connections, etc.) or a casual read that misses most of what Blake is saying because it floats over the connections he is making.
As I’m re-reading Blake, I constructed a chart that helps me track who’s who and what each major character is about. I won’t claim it makes Blake’s prophetic work completely simple and transparent, but it has made reading it more productive and insightful. If you’re reading “Valas,” “Milton,” “Jerusalem” or any of the other prophetic books, I hope it will benefit you as well.
Em/F: these are emanations (i.e. characters that flow from the character from which the pointer originates.) Some refer to these as the feminine forms, hence the “F.”
summer sunlight sparkles on the sea; a boat rocks idly
fall leaves will drop, and the winter river view will be unhindered.
high tide sweeps
around the beach rocks,
and then they’re islands.