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Blake Poetry


            "Blake's art is one of putting the complex into the simple".
             William Blake's art is one of putting the complex into the simple, as evident in the poems published in The Songs of Innocence and The Songs of Experience. His approach to most topics: poverty, pressure, friendship, honesty, jealousy, survival, truth, human rights, industrialisation, child labour, and the complexity of his ideas contradict the simplicity in language and construction that Blake uses in his poems. This clearness does not always mean the poem is easy to understand, but it does serve to create a sober mood that parallels the radical simplicity of each piece and draws out their serious, more complicated aspects.
             The poems published in The Songs of Innocence shows life through the eyes of innocent children, when the child's imagination has simply the function of completing its own growth. They show a world in which God is trusted unconditionally and there is no question of moral concerns. The issues explored in this series of poems are very complex, dealing with topics of child labour, vulnerability, discipline, poverty and the question of where life originated (in particular, who made the lamb). Despite these complicated topics, Blake had to ensure the poems were written and constructed with simplicity, as the speaker for each of them was a child. To achieve this, an obvious, yet powerful rhythm with a simple rhyming scheme and basic, strong words were used in each poem. Blake does this by using repetition, stress and rhythm, reinforcing this further by punctuation and alliteration. The strong rhythm adds more to the power of the lines and the images of the complex themes they create. The power that comes from this apparent simplicity is what makes the poem so striking.
             The Lamb, from the Songs of Innocence, is a notable instance where Blake has put the complex into the simple. The poem deals with a child questioning a lamb about who made it, before ending with the answer to this problem.


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