Monday, April 7, 2008

Day 9: Blake Paints What Milton Can’t Show in a Play

Keep the naked bodies
off the stage
and you end up with epic

Or anti-epic. Blake believed
in the moon as a breast,
in the eye as a home of sin and wonder,

In the poem
and the print
as lovers of one another,

In the muscled, gentle lovers
and their blisses
and the nearness

Of exile as dual blessing.
Oh, I wish for more
than either Milton’s diction

Or Blake’s apocalypse can offer.
I wish for comedy and grace.
I wish either lover

Looked the other lover in the face.
Baby, when we bring our fallen
bodies to our bower,

I will ask you about your crocuses this spring.
Tell me they survived the epic
winter, even if they died.

Jottings from Milton on Adam Unparadised, the failed version of a play that eventually was recast as Paradise Lost. See Katharine Fletcher's notes on Milton and Performance.


BlackEyedSusan said...

I wish for comedy and grace
I wish either lover

Failed to have a six pack at their waist.

kj said...

Very lovely. Lovely. A nice allusion to Eliot there in the last stanza. Quite redemptive, that!


abolitiontheory said...

"I wish either lover
Looked the other lover in the face."

Favorite line.

Ryan Michael said...

The ideas behind the poem are wonderful ones, but the poem doesn't quite work for me. Since I lack the vocabulary and poetic knowledge to really categorize it, I'll try to express it as best I can:

For the first few stanzas, it feels choppy and harsh, when I think that the topic of these lines demands something a little gentler and more lyrical. I quite like the last stanza, though.

I'd be very interested to see you revisit this one!

dw said...

Hah, Black Eyed Susan! Who knew there was a Gold's Gym in Eden?

Thanks, KJ. Everything is an allusion to Eliot.

Thanks, too, abolitiontheory.

And, Ryan, yep, they're all drafts. Will have to think about a more gentle beginning. I'm just not a gentle guy, you know>


kj said...

I like the allusion to Eliot in the line "Everything is an allusion to Eliot." is that from one of his Sweeney poems?