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Thursday 11 August 2011
The Creation of Man : William Blake
And after Michelangelo
what other hand, what other eye
could bring the scene to life again,
add something to the turning point
of God creating man? Only the mystic
inner eye, the eye of Blake envisioning
how Energy brought Adam from the dust.
Winged Energy, a spent force - almost - here
beneath a golden setting sun as Earth
returns to darkness from its glory days,
scrabbles on bare hands and knees
to fashion man as best He can.
He has no instant button at his beck and call,
no key to press marked "Add Life Now!",
man does not sizzle into being at his finger's touch.
Five days God's laboured on His master plan,
framed time, eternity, earth, universe and life,
framed all that is, except for this, now on the sixth,
from what is left - the last dregs of an earthly dust -
he's making man. The evidence is clear:
God struggles, fully stretched, with this his final
task, most draining of them all. Man, still not
fully formed, still part of earth - and worse,
already in the serpent's coils, the battle all but lost.
The spirit Energy has found the clay
he needs to form the brain. Retrieving it
while opening the skull, He seems distracted,
looks elsewhere - perhaps for inspiration, or perhaps
from sheer exhaustion. Here Blake's strange Elohim creates -
I'd say, almost against the grain - in torment and in pain.
Blake was implacably opposed
to science, all its forms and revelations,
and this was way before "The Origin of Species" -
but Blake is almost there, and that despite himself.
A painted print, but paint obliterates the print.
Blake, too, has toiled to bring The First Man
from his earthly womb to life: man made,
not simply in God's image, but by God Himself
who crafted him by hand - no short cuts taken here!