The initial words create a framework, but the rhythm is what drives this piece.
From the word beat, on, this is a race. By the subject matter, it is a race to drink deeply of the moment.
'The lovers souls lying mute in slumber' is like rolling thunder and sheet lightning in the distance. What is it that draws us like moths to the flame? We take a hypodermic needle of quiescence, and inject it into an otherwise rational mind.
Clearly, this love will be the undoing of both, yet in silence, they dive into it.
They must be silent, or they will be awoken from the slumber.
This is the way of fooling one's self.
Words can get us into such difficulty that one wonders.
Is language truly a survival adaptation? Perhaps, because a word spoken here, instead of silence might save.
Yet when the words begin to flow from the 'lovers lips', they are lies.
Words, so powerful to heal. So powerful to deceive, even the speaker.
Perhaps a kiss is not the moment of deception. At least during a kiss, one cannot lie.
The opening four lines are amongst the finest words written by anyone in any language, and I include all of the great religious writings in there as well. These lines transcend all thought, whether religious or secular, and drive to the heart of the human condition.
In four lines, Blake has summed up what it means to possess a child-like faith. This is the very essence of what Christ is talking about when He says, 'Unless one become as a little child, he has no part in me.'
This sentiment also infuses all of the works of Douglas Adams, who in addition to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, also wrote the Dirk Gently series which speaks about 'the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.' Adams has done with thousands of words of humourous prose, what Blake has done with four simple lines. The idea of men 'building the earth' is humourous. The idea of one man 'Winning an award' for designing the fjords of Norway, while entertaining is patently absurd and is a veiled warning to the reader that yes, the fjords of Norway are precious, as is every square inch of this planet.
Adams also co wrote an travellogue about the vanishing of nature called 'The Last Chance to See', in which book, the sentiments of this poems ring throughout every page and photograph.
Tolkien, in his famous works, espouses many of the same sentiments. The love for nature, and the need to respect, and protect it. The need to work with it, instead of against it. Tolkien took volumes to get his point across, and invented a few languages in the process. Blake summed it up in four lines.
To see the world through a child's eyes. To be able to discern the complexity and entirety of creation, by merely observing the smallest piece of nature. To look at a leaf, and see the entire life-cycle of the tree, the hydrological cycle, and passing of the seasons as part of that leaf.
To be able to fathom the great wonder of life, it's cycle, and its diversity, by merely viewing a flower.
The be able to witness the entire march of history, by spending an quiet hour of contemplation in the midst of nature. To watch a bee, and a butterfly visiting the same group of flowers, and witness the conflict and resolution.
All is connected. All that one does, affects everything else. If we don't figure that out soon, it will soon be the last chance to see humanity. This is the warning that is found throughout the poem, however the first four lines contain not the warning, but the joy of discovery.
The first four lines speak of the reward. If one loses the ability to find pleasure in the simple viewing of the smallest parts of nature, then one has become the enemy of the larger parts. The good news is that it is not too late to regain that spirit of wonder. We all are born with it, whether rich or poor. In fact, it may be simpler for the poor person to appreciate these finer points of nature, not having the distractions of the rich. Many people lose this sense of wonder as they become encumbered with the cares of life.
Grandchildren are a reward from God. If one has lost this sense of wonder, they force you, with love, to re-open your eyes to the simple wonders of nature.
Look Grampa! a ladybug!
Grampa, can I take this rock home?
Look at the butterfly Grampa!
Grampa! I saw a Blue Jay today!
Grampa, come outside and look at your roses!