Ginsberg on Blake continues – 94

“Infected Mad he dancd on his mountains high & dark as heaven” (William Blake)

Allen Ginsberg’s 1979 Naropa class on William Blake’s The Four Zoas continues from here

AG: “Infected Mad he dancd on his mountains high & dark as heaven” – (This is Los, doing a Shamanic dance.  Those who are in Anne Waldman‘s class will recognize this “Infected Mad he dancd on his mountains high & dark as heaven.”

Bloom has a very beautiful phrase on this.  This is the dance of the torment of man’s passions and the world of generation – “Infected Mad he dancd on his mountains high & dark as heaven.”  It’s a great way to begin a book, to begin a chapter of a poem – “I saw the best minds of my generation….”Infected Mad he dancd on his mountains high & dark as heaven.”

Below there – “… Enitharmon stretchd on the dreary Earth/ Felt her immortal limbs freeze stiffening” – (So there’s mortal cold and heat.  Fingers number every nerve, I think, (like in) another poem (of Blake’s where) cold and heat are felt in this mortal form) – “His feet shr(u)nk withring from the deep shrinking & withering/ And Enitharmon shrunk up..” –  (Line eleven) ]

So – “…So Los & Enitharmon/ Shrunk into fixed space…” – (So they’re the limits of contraction and opacity, actually. Space shrunk to human body form) – “stood trembling on a Rocky cliff..” – (Total contraction and solidification.  That solidification and contraction – there’s a very similar Buddhist-American (phrase whose) terminology also has ” Let your thoughts go” –  or – “He who kisses the joy as it flies/Lives in eternity’s sun rise/He who binds to himself a joy/Doth the winged life destroy” –  Let your thoughts go lest, in solidifying your thought, you create the world that you’re afraid of.  So that phrase –  “Solidification of a thought form,” is basic Tibeto-American terminology, and it’s not very far, conceptually, from the notion – “Shrunk into fixed space stood trembling on a Rocky cliff/Yet mighty bulk & majesty & beauty remaind but unexpansive”)

“… so far shrunk/ Los from the furnaces a Space immense & left the cold/ Prince of Light bound in chains of intellect..” – (That’s a nice line, too – left Urizen) – left “the cold/Prince of Light bound in chains of intellect among the furnaces/But all the furnaces were out & the bellows had ceast to blow..” – (Ostriker  “fires of creation fade(d)”)

And there’s “leaden air” in line twenty-two – (“Shadows of Eternal death sit in the leaden air”).   Then there’s a little demonic music coming up:

“But the soft pipe the flute the viol organ harp & cymbal/ And the sweet sound of silver voices” – (Silver.  Silver is the metal of Luvah – emotions)  – “… calm the weary couch/Of Enitharmon….”

“Loud & more loud the living music floats upon the air/Faint & more faint the daylight wanes..”

Something is coming up.  It’s like a drift of music coming through it but strange music beginning – ” The winter spread his wide black wings across from pole to pole/Grim frost beneath & terrible snow linkd in a marriage chain..” – (That’s amazing for the seasons.  A horrific vision of the chain procession of the seasons) –  “Grim frost beneath & terrible snow linkd in a marriage chain/ Began a dismal dance. The winds around the pointed rocks/ Settled like bats innumerable” – (That’s a little heavy, exaggerated)

“… ready to fly abroad/  The groans of Enitharmon shake the skies the labring Earth” – (“Labring” is interesting.  It is a septenary there and he doesn’t want any extra syllable for that, so “labring”  –  L-A-B-R-I-N-G.) – “Till from her heart rending his way” – (“Till from her heart rending his way” – that’s from the emotion) – “.. a terrible Child sprang forth..” – (That’s Orc, the fallen form of Luvah, rebellious energy,  according to Alicia Ostriker – At this point of limit, contraction, opacity, solidification, what happens to all that energy?  What happens to all the emotion?  Where did that all go?  Well, it has to come out in some form or other, so it comes out of the heart of spiritual beauty – the Emanation of poetic imagination – “a terrible Child.”)

“…In thunder smoke & sullen flames & howlings & fury & blood/ Soon his burning Eyes were opend on the Abyss/ The horrid trumpets of the deep bellowd with bitter blasts/ The Enormous Demons woke & howld around the new born king/Crying Luvah King of Love thou art the King of rage & death..” – (So the emotion and energy of love has been transformed, because it’s been repressed or suppressed, so it comes out in true Freudian fashion as rage, outrage, rebellion, death.

And what we have now is a repeat of….”Urizen cast deep darkness round him raging Luvah poured/ The spears of Urizen from Chariot round the Eternal tent…” – (That was that line that you noticed, Dick (sic), way back in Book One) – “Discord began then yells & cries shook the wide firma(m)ent/ And then carol, or song, or chorus, of the demons of the deep”

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-four-and-three-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately forty-one-and-half minutes in

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