16 June 2011


Fruitfully ambiguous, William Blake's lyric poems seem made to carry many meanings.  "The Sick Rose," though, seems especially apt as a description of that first gnawing anguish which, if not unhooked from the heart, gathers into despair:

                    O Rose, thou art sick!
                    The invisible worm
                    That flies in the night, 
                    In the howling storm,

                    Has found out thy bed
                    Of crimson joy:
                    And his dark secret love
                    Does thy life destroy.

If that channering worm is named Desolation, he is also named Chronos, Nidhogg (the wyrm who gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil), Chaos, Terminus, Shiva (the Destroyer), and Thanatos (sometimes represented by his helpmeet Eros)-- the ninety-nine names of Entropy, which conducts us, Roses and Blakes all, to that hot black smog at the end of time.

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