Monday, November 2, 2015

Poetry Analysis: Songs of Innocence Introduction by William Blake

by M. J. Joachim

Piping down the valleys wild,
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he laughing said to me:

“Pipe a song about a Lamb!”
So I piped with merry cheer.
“Piper, pipe that song again;”
So I piped: he wept to hear.

“Drop thy pipe, they happy pipe;
Sing thy songs of happy cheer!”
So I sang the same again,
While he wept with joy to hear.

“Piper, sit the down and write
In a book, that all may read.”
So he vanish’d from my sight;
And I pluck’d a hallow reed,

And I made a rural pen,
And I stain’d the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear.


Heaven, earth and Christ stand out to me fairly strongly in this poem. The first stanza speaks of a child on a cloud, laughing at the author and taking him on an inspirational journey, from beginning with the initial piece, to fulfillment of an actual book for the masses. Heaven’s inspirations perhaps? I believe so, particularly since the second stanza asks the author to create a song about a Lamb - notice Lamb capitalized, indicating reverence and a proper noun.

The songs created by the piper must have been exceedingly beautiful, since the one who inspired them wept to hear them. Inspiration is the Spirit, a living being, I’m thinking the second person in the Holy Trinity. Logically this makes sense, because writers are inspired and nudged by the Spirit all the time. The Spirit also guides us to our full potential, if we let it, which is what played out in the verses of the poem.

It is interesting to note that tools of the trade weren’t readily available in what I envision as a rural scene, lush, green country hills perhaps, or a fluffy, grassy meadow. The writer had to improvise with what was available to him, writing with a hallow reed, staining the water clear. God’s will, God’s way, the writer chose immediately to obey the command given by the Spirit inspiring him to write the book that all children would enjoy hearing.

It is interesting to note that the author was completely unsuspecting when he initially saw the child who instructed him. He was going about his own business, piping down the valleys wild, making music to his heart’s content. There’s a resounding innocence in the writer, one captured by the Spirit and open to the inspirations thereof, followed by a willingness to follow love’s delight, giving more freely and openly upon the urges of the Spirit.

This poem is filled with blameless pleasures that lead to greater fulfillment and satisfaction, the more they are explored, and throughout the process of their growth. It is a gentle poem, taking us back into the glorious days of childhood, while propelling us forward into what could be the grandest days of our lives. We must be open to the Spirit, following it blindly with love, to capture the truest essence of this poem and ascertain its deepest meaning.

Wishing you all of life’s greatest inspirations,

M. J.

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