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A Glance At 'The Pickering Manuscript' by William Blake

Alex has taught at four public schools, been accepted into three honorary societies, and traveled the Americas and Europe. He has his AAT.

Introduction

William Blake is one of the greatest artists in recent times for all of the English speaking world. Or, that's my opinion anyway. And, one of my favorite works of this man is found in 'The Pickering Manuscript'. William Blake is perhaps best known as a painter and a poet; therefore, this manuscript of sorts is filled with poems (all of which can be found online). For the benefit of the reader, I am including links below - both to the original writings with transcriptions, and to a transcription work.

William Blake

William Blake

'The Smile'

'The Smile' is the title of the first poem in 'The Pickering Manuscript'. It creates a sense of humanism, with a side of Gibran's (a very similar artist) "tear and smile". There are only 16 lines here, but when read by one who understands the intended sentiment - the feelings can hit very deep. They are sentiments from a far off dream that I have dreamed. That dream is not a real dream, like the waking dream. Still, it is a recognized dream among so many forgotten dreams.

A transcription of 'The Pickering Manuscript':

'The Golden Net'

The following poem is much longer than the first. 'The Golden Net' rhymes by every two lines.Inside this writing, we discover an allusion to tears multiple times. We can note from William Blake's works how he uses capital letters to signify variation in word meaning. This is relatively common, especially among the poetically minded.

a-glance-at-the-pickering-manuscript-by-william-blake

'The Mental Traveller'

The poem titled 'The Mental Traveller' is a very elongated in comparison to those prior discussed thus far. Some of the imagery displayed herein is very intense. For someone with the depth of William Blake, it is difficult to say where the symbolism ends. To convey that which is beyond language with mere words is the work of the poet; the architect of bridges to understanding.

'The Pickering Manuscript'

'The Land of Dreams'

This one is a bit shorter with only 20 lines in total. 'The Land of Dreams' is like one of the other poems discussed; it rhymes in paired verses. It is a gorgeous, if short, poem. There is also a hint of humanism to this piece as well. Humanism is not unheard of for the poet.

a-glance-at-the-pickering-manuscript-by-william-blake

'Mary'

'Mary' is a wonderful poem. Here, William Blake applies a prostitute analogy. It's not an item which is only used by Blake, but Blake does something - he does it so well. I believe that the Mary of this poem is an allusion to the Mary Magdalene of the Bible. Blake's work can have a kind of spiritual bend.

The iron hand crushd the Tyrants head

And became a Tyrant in his stead

— from 'The Grey Monk', by William Blake

'The Crystal Cabinet'

'The Crystal Cabinet' has surrounding it a Narniaic atmosphere. William makes mention of England and London. He again includes women herein. It is not uncommon for a male poet to write about women. Sufi poets, who sometimes live without the sexual touch of the female, write in depth about the kisses of their beloved (a representation in, some contexts, of their connection with the divine). If William had been born into the Islamic world in similar circumstances, then I would suspect that he would have been considered a member or devotee of Sufism. William Blake is a fascinating man. There is good reason that he is one of my favorite poets.

To see a world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.

— from 'Auguries of Innocence', by William Blake

'The Grey Monk'

What stands out to me, at least initially, about 'The Grey Monk' is that the first and last four verses all rhyme. And, all eight of these verses have ending rhymes (that is, all eight words at the ending of each verse rhyme). I particularly like the last two lines of this poem.

'Auguries of Innocence'

'Auguries of Innocence' is one of my all-time favorite poems! It is fantastic, especially in the beginning lines (of which I have memorized since long ago). He makes note, in this poem, that we were "made for joy and woe". This touches me as a latter-day saint, because in our scriptures we find a verse that declares that our purpose is to "have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25). 'Auguries of Innocence' is very beautiful, and it is very long. There is a lot of material to meditate on.

Seek Love in the Pity of others Woe

In the gentle relief of anothers care

— from 'William Bond', by William Blake

'Long John Brown & Little Mary Bell'

'Long John Brown & Little Mary Bell' is much much shorter than 'Auguries of Innocence' by comparison. The religious imagery returns here, but it is far darker.

'William Bond'

'William Bond' is the final poem in 'The Pickering Manuscript'. It is a fairly long writing for the manuscript. Like Gibran, Blake anthropomorphizes love. He ends these poems with a gorgeous note on love and where to find it.

© 2019 Alexander James Guckenberger

Comments

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on September 20, 2019:

Abitha,

I agree! I look forward to this as well. :)

Abitha from Chennai, Tamilnadu on September 19, 2019:

He has a voice that suits theatre I guess and hence the power as well as the calm! As for Data, it will be interesting to see what will be different in the new series, will look forward to reading your review on that.

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on September 19, 2019:

Abitha,

Patrick Stewart has a certain aura about him. I totally agree with you! He brought a lot of people into a greater love for 'Star Trek', and he is what I will enjoy about this series too. He is incredible. Isn't his voice beyond words? The fact that Brent Spiner is back is awesome as well.

Abitha from Chennai, Tamilnadu on September 18, 2019:

What do you think you will enjoy the most about Picard, Alexander? For me, the fact that Patrick Stewart is Picard is likely to make it a great show, which probably was one of the significant reasons why Star Trek - New Gen is a hit - he is a formidable presence, isn’t he?

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on September 18, 2019:

Abitha,

Are you looking forward to the new 'Star Trek' show? 'Picard' looks amazing!

Abitha from Chennai, Tamilnadu on September 17, 2019:

Alexander,

Perhaps the family member you are referring to finds Star Trek characters more plausible vs. fantasy in Star Wars. I have watched mostly the Star Trek original series and I loved it. Spock is unforgettable but then so is Yoda or Darth Vader, do I have to choose? I believe they are very different in approach and I enjoy the difference.

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on September 17, 2019:

Abitha,

Do you enjoy 'Star Trek'? One of my family members appears to like 'Star Trek' more than 'Star Wars'.

Abitha from Chennai, Tamilnadu on September 17, 2019:

Alexander,

I don’t qualify as a fan yet as I am yet to watch most of the series but this phrase caught on fast and is powerful! I guess much like the phrase -beam me up Scotty inspired by Star Trek! I am guessing you are an avid fan though!

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on September 15, 2019:

Abitha,

And, may the force also be with you! You like 'Star Wars' Abitha?

Abitha from Chennai, Tamilnadu on September 14, 2019:

Thank you for the kind words Alexander. Wishing you and your family life’s best as well. May the force be with you.

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on September 14, 2019:

Abitha,

Thank you so much! I completely agree with your sentiments towards teachers. You are intelligent and a very caring person. I only hope the best for you and your family.

Abitha from Chennai, Tamilnadu on September 14, 2019:

Thanks. The pleasure was mine, Alexander! Given the diversity of your hubs am sure you will make a wonderful teacher. When curiosity is encouraged in children (which is usually the case where the teacher is curious himself and has a wealth of knowledge to share), the students are sure to be enriched and hence, flourish.

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on September 13, 2019:

Abitha,

That sounds like an awesome curriculum! Good teachers are essential. You guys had a lot of fun. I'm working towards becoming a teacher, so hearing of good examples is inspiring. You have good taste. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories.

Abitha from Chennai, Tamilnadu on September 13, 2019:

We had poetry in high school where our curriculum was designed to include poems by all the popular poets including Blake, Frost, Wordsworth, Shelley, Yates and so on. We had some lovely teachers who made all these poems memorable for us. One of the aspects I loved was when a new poem was read out in class, any one of us could take turns in trying to interpret the meaning or context of the poem. It was wonderful to attempt doing so! We also had quizzes and games around them - this was so fun as mostly it involved figuring out who was being quoted etc. Simple pleasures of life! I am partial to the other William by the way - Wordsworth!

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on September 12, 2019:

Abitha,

Gibran and Blake are fantastic. Did you really have the opportunity to learn from Blake in school?

Abitha from Chennai, Tamilnadu on September 12, 2019:

I like your mention of Gibran in your description of Blake. I believe these are often quoted powerful lines that I remember from school -

"To see a world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour."

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on July 04, 2019:

Pamela Oglesby,

Awesome. It's lovely to get your comments. :)

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 04, 2019:

I agree with your comments, Alexander. :)

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on July 04, 2019:

Pamela Oglesby,

William Blake is fantastic. Context can be helpful. However, I believe that poetry can transcend the necessity for context. Art can be most beneficial to the person who doesn't know what the artist initially meant to portray. Thank you for input. If you disagree, feel free to let me know. I respect your voice.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 03, 2019:

I find William Blake's poetry to really make me consider exactly what he is saying. I think the short poem "The Smile" is a good example. I enjoy his work very much.

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on July 02, 2019:

Eric Dierker ,

Blake is awesome. :)

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 02, 2019:

Pretty cool. I forget why I studied Blake in school. Something to do with philosophy I think. Thanks for this look.

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