William Blake continues – 3 (“To find the Western Path/Right thru the Gates of Wrath”)

“To find the Western Path/Right thru the Gates of Wrath..” –  from William Blake’s  Notebook, 1800

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake’s Visions of the Daughters of Albion continuing from here

AG: Okay, we continue.  So Bromion.. So there’s a little chink or crack in.  Bromion‘s reason, too. Because he’s saying,  “But knowest thou that trees and fruits flourish upon the earth/To gratify senses unknown? trees beasts and birds unknown:/Unknown, not unpercievd, spread in the infinite microscope,/In places yet unvisited by the voyager. and in worlds/Over another kind of seas, and in atmospheres unknown:/Ah! are there other wars, beside the wars of sword and fire!” – (That’s real interesting.  He’s really not quite sure. There might be a spiritual universe, there might be another universe besides the universe of material rape, exploitation, slave-holding, industrial-capitalist development.  Now these echo Andrew Marvells poem, from The Garden”, “Meanwhile the mind from pleasure less /Withdraws into its happiness. /The mind, that ocean where each kind/ doth straight its own resemblance find/ Yet creates, transcending these/ Far other shores and other seas Annihilating all that’s made/ To a green thought in a green shade.” –  That’s Milton‘s secretary, Andrew Marvell in his poem, “The Garden” –  that is, why not retire into the garden and contemplate?, instead of go out into the world of politics and Puritan rebellions.

“Over another kind of seas, and in atmospheres unknown?/Ah! are there other wars, beside the wars of sword and fire!” – (Well, that particular war, the war of sighs and spears, is defined by Blake, in his little poem, To Find the Western Path” (“Morning“). It’s about the emotional wars –  “To find the Western path/ Right thro the Gates of Wrath/ I urge my way”

Anybody who’s had acid and has gone through a terror trip, coming out the other side –  “To find the Western path.”  What would “West” be here?  Who’s in the West? Who’s the image of the West? Do you remember?  Can somebody check that out,  find the Western aspect? that would  be Luvah, maybe?  Emotions?

Student: (Urthona)
AG: Who?
Student: I think it’s Urthona.
AG: Urthona, at the bottom.Los. It should be (there) . You got that (sheet –sic).
Student: It’s Tharmas.
AG: Tharmas, the body. Okay.  West.

Anyway, the verse is  – “To find the Western path/ Right through the Gates of Wrath/ I urge my way/ Sweet Morning [Sweet Mercy] leads me on/ With soft repentant moan/ I see the break of day/The war of swords & spears/ Melted by dewy tears/ Exhales on high/And with soft grateful moans/A sun is freed from fears/Ascends the sky..” [Allen somewhat misremembers the exact phrasing of the poem, he will correct himself later}

That would be somewhere in the (text).  Let’s see if I can find that original.  “To find the Western path” is one of his great little mystic epigrams of instruction on how to get through, (and) how to break through illusion.  Well, we’ll come to it later on, when we get to his little short poems.

Student: (Page) four hundred and sixty-nine
AG: Pardon me?
Student: Page four hundred and sixty-nine
AG: Yeah, because I was misquoting it, actually. (Page) four hundred and sixty-nine
Student: Yeah.

AG: It’s from his notebook 1800-1803, actually.

“To find the Western pathRight thro’ the Gates of Wrath/ I urge my way/ Sweet Mercy leads me on/ With soft repentant moan/ I see the break of day/.  The war of swords & spears/ Melted by dewy tears/ Exhales on high/  The Sun is freed from fears/ And with soft grateful tears/ Ascends the sky,”

That’s one of the great little Blake lyrics, because (it’s) complete psychological instructions for Theotormon right there and then.

Peter Orlovsky:  What’s the Western path?

AG: Well, “Western” would be to reclaiming the body, or to Tharmas, the body.

Peter Orlovsky:  And what’s “thro the Gates of Wrath”?

AG:  I guess the gates of fear and emotion. The doorway of fear,  right through fear, and repression.  Courage to go right through any emotion that would be prohibitive or fearful. Courage to go through your own terror; that is, to endure your own terror, endure the projection. Endure your own projection of terror on the universe and pass through it.  Acknowledge it and pass through it.  Rather.. or…  The courage to, as Oothoon has, to enter into experience. Let her swans breasts be muddied by the red clay of the stream, let her soft wool, lamb-like, be defiled by the village smoke, let Bromion rape her and yet… let Bromion rape her as consequence of her own experimental messing-around.  She’s going out to have experience, she’s plucked the flower of Leutha, she did pluck ecstasy, she plucked the flower of the vale of Leutha, so she experienced orgasm and ecstasy, she is willing to take the consequences and then go on.  So she passed through the Gates of Wrath.

to be continued

[Audio from the above may be heard – here – beginning at approximately thirty-one-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately thirty-seven-and-three-quarter minutes in] 

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