Allen Ginsberg Naropa lecture on William Blake’s The Four Zoas continues from here
AG: (reading Blake) (…the Sons of Urizen With compasses) divide the deep, they the strong scales erect/’That Luvah rent from the faint Heart of the Fallen Man/And weigh the massy Cubes, then fix them in their awful stations/And all the time in Caverns shut, the golden Looms erected/First spun..” – (Mind – Caverns would be minds’ skulls, mind, skulls, (Plato’s cave, if you know that myth). And I think the “Looms” are looms of generation, or meat-mortal generation, and I think there is some tradition of the loom in the cavern, the loom in the cave relating to Plato’s myth. Does anybody know that?
Student(1): I don’t know that.
AG: Someone mentioned it.
Student (1): (It’s a real well-known one, isn’t it?_
AG: Isn’t it?
Student (2): .. Images in the back..
AG: Pardon me?
Student (2): …images that are reflected on the wall…
Student (2): … back and forth. And the people are chained, watching images, and eventually they form of language. They develop a whole of science of interpreting them.
AG: Yes, which is happening here, obviously. But I wanted the loom. Is there an image of the loom in the Platonic myth?
Student (3): In the Neo-Platonic myth, the Cave of the Nymphs, which Blake was affected by … but now I’ve forgotten…the importance of this, but it is like a death-and-rebirth system, and he did an illustration where, supposedly, it was his commentary on that whole thing…
Student (3): … the Circle of Life, the Circle of Destiny. The loom is very important there. It’s the spinner back into … (the) existence of dead souls or … and vice versa, sort of like a little….
AG: I think later on we’ll get the Three Fates, who weave also. Later on in Blake here we’ll get the Three Fates – [Allen continues reading] – “… the golden Looms erected/ First spun, then wove the Atmospheres…” – (So, literally, begins weaving the air – creating air)- “… there the Spider & Worm/Plied the wingd shuttle piping shrill thro’ all the list’ning threads” – (That’s a great line! I like that – “list’ning threads.”) – “…the Spider & Worm/Plied the wingd shuttle piping shrill thro’ all the list’ning threads”..
to be continued
Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately sixty-two-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately sixty-four-and-a-half minutes in