William Blake was baptised on Sunday 11 December 1757, 265 years ago.
John Riordan wrote the following poem and read it at the online launch of VALA issue 3.
The Grinling Gibbons font you were
Baptised in is formed into a marble tree.
I like to think it is the Tree of Life
That Eve sidles round, offering Adam
A crisp Golden Delicious.
How many other babes were dipped
In St. James’s cold holy sink
That Sunday, embarking on their journeys
Down the River of Life, hoping to reach
Seven coils of the worm? Hidden rivers,
Covered over by London streets and clay.
Recently we’ve lost so many –
Poets, musicians, writers, my cat.
Yesterday the council came to chop
Down the tree outside my gate.
We will remember them by what they
Left us – books, music, memories, a
Stump. We hope that they are somehow
William, your river burst through into
Sunlight after you had passed its length.
Your tree blossomed into life with a
Little help from friends and Ancients.
Now we enthusiasts tinker around the
Edges of your City, drawing, singing,
Choosing newer kinds of fonts. Or,
More bravely, we pack a lunch and
Embark, exploring the streets and houses
Within – there may be trees, river, spectres