MEDITATE ON THIS

07 April 2017

The latest news out of Syria concerns chemical warfare attacks against “civilians” with plenty of finger pointing and denials.  What follows is a poem by William Blake which I always think of when I hear the term “chemical attack.”  I am pretty sure it is the imagery that does this.

O for a voice like thunder, and a tongue
To drown the throat of war!
When the senses
Are shaken, and the soul is driven to madness,
Who can stand?
When the souls of the oppressed
Fight in the troubled air that rages,
Who can stand?
When the whirlwind of fury comes from the
Throne of God, when the frowns of his countenance
Drive the nations together,
Who can stand?
When Sin claps his broad wings over the battle,
And sails rejoicing in the flood of Death;
When souls are torn to everlasting fire,
And fiends of Hell rejoice upon the slain.
O who can stand?
O who hath caused this?
O who can answer at the throne of God?
The Kings and Nobles of the Land have done it!
Hear it not, Heaven, thy Ministers have done it!

 

Blake apparently wrote this as a prologue to an unfinished work on The War of The Roses.  He has a reputation for obscure references but I think this poem is clear as a bell.  I considered deleting the last line for this post because the next to the last line applies very well, really, to our modern democracies and whatever you call this crap we are trying to do in the Middle East.  But, who am I to mess with Blake?

…george k reynolds

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