Poem of the Week #8: London (William Blake)

I’m going to be leaving London soon for almost a year – maybe even longer depending on how things go. I think that I’ll come back. There are plenty of things to love about London; the people, the places, the arts, the opportunities. But it can be an alienating and lonely city, especially if you are uncertain of your place in the world – no one put this better than William Blake, in ‘London’…

London (William Blake)

I wandered through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
A mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every man,
In every infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear:

How the chimney-sweeper’s cry
Every blackening church appals,
And the hapless soldier’s sigh
Runs in blood down palace-walls.

But most, through midnight streets I hear
How the youthful harlot’s curse
Blasts the new-born infant’s tear,
And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse.

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