Sunday, July 4, 2010

My Blakean Year: Issa's Sunday Service, #58

My Blakean Year by Patti Smith on Grooveshark

This week's selection for Issa's Sunday Service is by the inimitable Patti Smith, her second go round here in the land of litrock. These are the lyrics, from the artist's website, plus a gander, in pdf, at her original ms. page for the song.

Right here is where poetry and rock come together:

And so, as Mr. Blake himself is invoked, I can hardly pass on the opportunity to share one of his many devastating short poems:

A Divine Image
Cruelty has a Human heart
And Jealousy a Human Face,
Terror, the Human Form Divine,
And Secrecy, the Human Dress.

The Human Dress is forgéd Iron,
The Human Form, a fiery Forge,
The Human Face, a Furnace seal'd,
The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.

William Blake

Death mask of William Blake


Since it's the 4th of July, here's a little something for folks who maybe never really listened to the lyrics to this song. When we think about war and we think about freedom, let's think on this a bit. Seems to me the tone of this rendition captures the spirit of the words a tad better than the better known version:

For those without the pleasure of a Jersey history, the penitentiary he is talking about is Rahway State Penitentiary (aka East Jersey State Prison), where Rubin Carter did hard time:

And this is the refinery, the Bayway Oil Refinery, formerly owned by Standard Oil and Exxon, now owned by ConocoPhillips:

And, this 4th of July, the war drags on.


From the archive this week: a poem by Greg Kosmicki, from Lilliput Review, #89, July 1997.

untitled, undated #2
How long can a writer go on intuition alone.
How long can a sparrow go on intuition alone.

Greg Kosmicki

baby sparrow--
even when people come
opening its mouth
translated by David G. Lanoue



Charles Gramlich said...

Blake was just a genius.

Conrad DiDiodato said...

Patti's original ms. for "My Blakean Year" is pure visual poetry!

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Indeed, Charles ...

Conrad, it is amazing, talk about process on the page ...

Miriam Sagan said...

Don--I'm thrilled to see the Patti Smith. I've been running an informal symposium on her at Miriam's Well ( I'm still--always--looking for new material.Anyone interested can look at Patti Smith in the contents--and I really do need more!
Regards to you from Iceland...I'm having an amazing timr.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks, Conrad.


Well, we most certainly have a mutual interest in Patti Smith. I've done a couple of posts on her. This one tells of her recent appearances in Pittsburgh:

and this one has an interview, a performance with her son, and a link to a review:

An incredible artist and woman.