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17 Apr 2013

O is for Ode I Love

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

 This Week's Topic:  
April is National Poetry Month! Share your favorite poem(s) or poet.

I've never been much of a fan of poetry but I studied William Blake in Sixth Form and actually grew to like his poems in Songs of Innocence and Experience.  Once we learnt more about these poems I thought they were pretty good.  My favourite one is London from Experience.

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow. 
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear 

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appalls, 
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls 

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear 
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse 
It's the imagery I love the most.  The 'mind-forg'd manacles'.  Makes London sound like it's people are almost brainwashed to think alike.  It's a depressing image of London with the residents appearing miserable in their lives but I can't help but love the poem.


  1. I remember studying this in school too! Great poem, thanks for reminding me of it.

    1. There was quite a lot of poetry that I took a liking to thanks to Sixth Form. Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner was awesome too. :)

  2. The only William Blake I know is "Jerusalem"--and that's because we used to sing it on the last day of the Spring term in school. But I guess that kind of fits with me: a preference for poetry set to music (i.e., song).

    This poem does paint a rather bleak picture of London. I wonder how this meshes with the picture of England Blake seems to paint in "Jerusalem"? I sense a despair in "London," and maybe "Jerusalem" is harkening for a better England than what he sees? I'm sure we discussed the meaning of "Jerusalem" in school... not that I remember. Too many years ago. :)

    1. Very bleak. I think, although don't hold me to it, that William Blake wasn't a fan of London. While living there he saw a lot of child labour, prostitution, disease, dangerous industrial conditions, and poverty.

  3. Oh William Blake. He was so good with his words. I agree, his imagery was very good :) Thanks for sharing!

    1. I always thought he was easy to read. :) Simple, straight forward imagery. Said what was on his mind. :)

  4. Excellent choice. I, too, am an admirer of Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Thanks for sharing.

    Muffins and Metaphors

    1. Great poem! I think that could easily be used for a retelling as well. There's a lot of possibilities to explore from that poem. :)

  5. Great choice. I remember studying William Blake in college as well.

  6. It appears I'm in the minority in not having studied William Blake. Thanks for bringing him to my attention :)