Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blake's "Forests of the Night"

A friend just got a tiger tattoo for his 60th birthday.

Which of course brought to mind the William Blake poem:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

Blake is asking of the tiger: who made thee? He's writing about where we came from and where we're going, as well as the power and beauty of the animal.

Sometimes when I teach a writing workshop, I ask people to figure out what one question all their writing is trying to answer.

Blake's question is my question, the search that drives my books. "In what distant deeps or skies/Burnt the fire of (our) eyes?"

Do you know the question that drives your art? Is there an image that embodies that question?

I don't plan to get a tattoo, but I do like seeing my question clearly before me as I follow a story into the forests.

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