Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Video: Patti Smith sings “The Tyger” by William Blake

Through song and story, Patti Smith gives us new insight into the transcendent genius of William Blake.

During a 2011 benefit concert for the Wadsworth Atheneum, Smith tells the story of the little black notebook in which William Blake wrote some of his most beautiful poetry, and she sings his iconic poem “The Tyger.”

And in a different medium — the introduction to her selection of William Blake’s poems — she writes:

The eternal loom spins the immaculate word. The word forms the pulp and sinew of innocence. A newborn cries as the cord is severed, seeming to extinguish memory of the miraculous. Thus we are condemned to stagger rootless upon the earth in search for our fingerprint on the cosmos. 

William Blake never let go of the loom’s golden skein. The celestial source stayed bright within him, the casts of heaven moving freely in his sightline. He was the loom’s loom, spinning the fiber of revelation; offering songs of social injustice, the sexual potency of nature, and the blessedness of the lamb. The multiple aspects of woven love. 

His angels entreat, drawing him through the natural aspects of their kingdom into the womb of prophecy. He dips his ladle into the spring of inspiration, the flux of creation.

Running time: 3:36

Email subscribers may click on the title of this post to watch the video.

The plate Blake himself drew, lettered, and printed in the original edition of Songs of Experience
William Blake/Patti Smith

2 comments on “Video: Patti Smith sings “The Tyger” by William Blake

  1. Mike Schneider
    November 24, 2019

    “The Tyger” is a Song of Experience (not a Song of Innocence as your caption says) — its counterpart in Songs of Innocence is “The Lamb.”

    Liked by 1 person

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