Category Archives: Visionary Imagination

Underthis heading, you will see all the work that I did in the subject Visionary Imagination. It has blog posts on aspects of the work of William Blake, Patrick White and David Malouf. It also has peer reviews of some of my fellow students work, and one or two creative posts that I thought relevant. Please enjoy.

The Lamb and the Tyger, William Blake. John Tavener.

The poem called the Lamb by William Blake was first written in his collection of works called Book of Innocence. This book later became part of Songs of Innocence and Wisdom.

The book shows the benefit of Naivety and Experience. This was highlighting another aspect of the teachings of William Blake. Contraries. Without Innocence, wisdom would have no use. The overcoming of innocence brings wisdom and experience.

The trick is to get the balance right. We need to remain innocent in some aspects. For example, I have no experience of drug taking, nor do I ever want any. I don’t think I would benefit from taking drugs of any kind at all . But at the same time, I have benefited by the experience of others in this area. I have seen what drugs do to people and desire to remain innocent of ever doing it myself.

The Lamb poem was mirrored in the  Songs of Wisdom, by The Tyger. On one hand, you have the innocence of the Lamb, who knows nothing and is happy to go about life just…being. The Tyger however is manipulative, always looking for opportunities to devour those not as smart as himself. Blake sees the Tyger as evil and cruel. But the Tyger cannot exist without the Lamb. If there were no innocent created, the Tyger would not have anything or anyone to prey upon.

Blake also reminds us in the poem, the Tyger, that the Tyger was made by the same hands who made the Lamb. Good and evil by one hand. Since the bible tells us that all things are created by God (John Chapter 1), then God made good and evil alike. Without Evil, there is no good, or we wouldn’t be able to discern between the two.

Such a paradox for one, such as me, who always thought that all good came from God and all evil came from Satan.

I have been contemplating this since studying William Blake this last semester (semester 2, 2016) when I studied Blake at University. It was again brought to my mind when we sang The Lamb (words by William Blake, Music by John Tavener) on the Australian Catholic University Choir tour to Rome.

John Tavener obviously studied the poem and its context well before writing the music for this  a Capella piece. The song starts off with the purity of a soprano line, and is joined in along the way by alto, tenor and bass sections. The soprano is beautiful but haunting as the singers ask… “Little Lamb who made thee? dost thou know who made thee?”

As the different sections are added, you can hear the discords or the clash of notes between two or more sections. In some parts the clash is quite pronounced as natural notes come against sharps, which are sung at the same time as flats. It really is confusing for a singer. The timing also is varied throughout the song, as is the volume. But in the end, it all comes together , when the child says…”I’ll tell you who made thee… he is called by your name”. From  then on harmonies bland well, united under one God. It truly is a remarkable piece of music. Copyright prevents me from sharing the written music with you, but here is a YouTube clip from King’s College, Cambridge of the song so you can hear the discord harmonies for yourself.

enjoy.

Dave


“The Lamb”
from Songs of Innocence

Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee
Gave thee life & bid thee feed.
By the stream & o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wooly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice:
Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee

Little Lamb I’ll tell thee,
Little Lamb I’ll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child & thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb God bless thee.
Little Lamb God bless thee.

“The Tyger”
from Songs of Experience

Tyger Tyger. burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes!
On what wings dare he aspire!
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger, Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

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Doors of perception cleared, eyes opened within Remembering Babylon

To my fellow students of Visionary Imagination. 

Page 118.

“I think of our early settlers, starving on these shores in the midst of plenty they did not recognise, in a blessed nature of flesh, fowl, fruit that was all around them and which they could not, with their English eyes,perceive, since the very habit and faculty that makes apprehensive to us what is known and expected dulls our sensitivity to other forms, even the most obvious. We must rub our eyes and look again, clear our minds of what we are looking for to see what is there”.

We ourselves do not recognise that which is around us. while the settlers were unaware of all the food around  them, we now may starve spiritually because we don’t see what we are living in the midst of. We need to have our own doors of perception opened to see the infinite spiritual world in which we live.

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Remembering Babylon and Riders of the Chariot.

Reading these books again, I need to keep reminding myself that they are fiction.  I get quiet emotional thinking that man can be so cruel to man. Yet I know it’s possible. I know that all good fiction books are good because they have the ability to capture your emotions and hold them  hostage until the last page.

We all like a happy ending. but the truth is that not every story has one. We have to admit to ourselves  that life does not always turn out for the best. Such are the stories of Gemmy Fairley and Mordecai Himmelfarb. Although these are fictional characters, they have the basis of fact, of true events and real people.

At the end of this course, after the exam next Thursday, I shall be sad to leave these characters behind. May I not be so callous that I learn nothing from these books.

Dave.

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Are you deaf?

I am compelled to now tell further visions which I have had in my life. I have never shared them before for fear of ridicule. The vision recounted below so haunted me when I was 13 that I ran away from home to try to see if I could make some sense of it and myself.

It  was recurring from age 9 to about 14. Then I think I stopped believing. the compulsion which drove me to church week after week even when my family ridiculed me for going ceased.

This was the vision:

I saw myself bursting forth from the top of a pyramid. Flying through the air, over lands ancient and modern. I wore a short white tunic with a gold hem and a purple line an inch from the hem and on both short sleeves. I wore tight gold armbands on my wrists. I am not aware of my legs or shoes.

I flew over a football ground, from one end to the other and as I did I screamed in my childish treble voice. Then I rose straight up in the air so I could see all the city.

I was crying, sobbing… and shouting for all to hear ” Why won’t you listen?”

But I knew the answer. I was resigned in the fact that I was just a child, with no experience of the world.

The vision ended there and often it left me shaking and sobbing. i recall once I was on the basketball court in year 7 playing basketball with my sports team when the vision came. I just sort of blanked out and ran to a small creek nearby so I could be alone.

Another time as I was walking home from school when I was in year 6, and it so overwhelmed me that I fainted, but managed to wake and get up before anyone noticed.

I have no idea what the vision meant or means. Be sure that these were not dreams but visions. They sometimes occurred at night but mostly during the day.

I was considered a dramatic child but never did I share these visions for fear of ridicule. I am braving it now, with the hope that others who have had similar or as equally bizarre visions may know they are not alone.

Dave

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Sleeping, I wake

I am sleeping, dreaming. But now I am more alive, more awake than ever before. I am aware of others around me. I know who they are, can picture them. But the names I know in the physical world are given to creatures in this one. I don’t know how I know, but I know the one over by the wall is Jamie, and the other sitting in the doorway is my brother. My mother, a purple creature with kind eyes, peeks from around the door and says come eat.

I go into the other room but do not sit at a table, as my mother would ask me to, nor does she serve me, as she would when I was a child. I am reclining on a lime green sofa, which seems to be hovering in the bright yellow room. I eat a strange bland round cake. My mother smiles, I am satisfied.

I don’t see myself as I am on earth, on in the physical. I don’t see myself at all. I have no real sense of my form. I just accept what is without question. It is as if this is how it always was, how life is meant to be.

Everything is peaceful, calm, tranquil. People live in harmony. There is no need for verbal communication. There are no fears, worries, anger, nothing to voice but contentment, and that is shown on the faces of the beings.

There are no harsh edges, everything is rounded. There are no harsh colours, everything is pastel or pale. There is no real sound but a soft hum rises from the floor and within me.

I do not try to understand this vision. It has been repeated often. Sometimes when sleeping, sometimes I am fully awake. It is not part of my meditations, the colours I see in meditations are often much darker, but still peaceful. Everything in this vision is bright, clear, as if “the doors of perception had been cleansed, and everything appears as it is, infinite”.I sometimes close my eyes so I can see.

Thanks to barefoot fairy for inspiring me to be brave  to share my vision.

https://barefootfairy42.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/celestial-doorways-and-the-death-of-the-ego/

This is shared after the end of our Blake course, but I felt it appropriate  Ishould include it in the category of Visionary Imagination.

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Peer Review, Jesse

https://ocsanj.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/week-9-religion-art-and-white-exploring-meaning-in-confusion/

Jesse,
Thanks for this post. You inspired me to again look at the video, which before I had only glanced over. I took something different from the interview. As a result, I have written the following blog. https://s00156364.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/purity-patrick-white-and-brett-whiteley/
Thanks again.
Dave

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Peer Review Sarasaladino

https://sarasaladino.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/summative-entry-3/

How interesting that you found Riders in the Chariot bland but enjoyed Babylon more.
I find the opposite is true for me. Riders has a natural progression and White’s use of Language makes me smile at times and be incredibly sad in others.
I think I get too analytical when I read Babylon. I am always looking for hidden meaning instead of just enjoying the book.
As I reread both for our exam, I shall try to put analysis aside and just read them.
Thanks for this post.
Dave

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Blake Performances

How have the Blake performances extended your knowledge on his works and beliefs?

Recently our class was divided into teams and asked to come up with a drama idea to portray an aspect of William Blake’s life and work, to increase the understanding of his work in our classmates.

Our team performances focused on the contraries of Blake.

Alex provided a good Narration with some pertinent quotes, Amber and Sarah did a skit about superheroes, and Good vs Evil and how sometimes they can be on the same side.

Image result for superheroes good vs evil

Tibby did a slam poetry about his own visions and compared them to the Blakean Visions.

I myself painted. I painted black arrows pointing up on a white surface. This was to represent the prisoners in jails, who for them the only way is up.

 

Cartoon credit: Ray Jelliffe

 

 

 

I painted a Ying and Yang symbol on white background.Image result for yin yang

The ying and yang are black and white halves of a full circle. We often fail to see that in the white half, there is a spot of black. In the black half, there is a spot of white. This is to symbolise that not everything is wholly good, or wholly bad. there is a little bit of bad in the good, and a little bit of good in the bad. I drew a strip down the centre which when paiImage result for marriage of heaven and hellnted became grey, showing a marriage between good and evil… Heaven and Hell.
Then in about 5 minutes, I replicated the cover to the Marriage of Heaven and Hell in coloured chalk on a black surface. I think I did a good job. I gave it to the lecturer afterwards

.The other performance that had an impact on me was “The Business Meeting” which was written by Nigel. It depicted a meeting where the communication comes down a chain of command. This showed that the message often doesn’t get through unadulterated and that Blake tried to make the church leaders of his day see that point. The church leaders always thought that they were right and everyone else was wrong.

My highly commended prize would have to go to the team who portrayed a Dole queue at Centrelink. It went to show that you really cant judge a book by its cover, and that we must treat outsiders with respect and dignity.

Well done everyone, it was highly enjoyable.

Dave

 

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Peer Review Mahdi

https://mahdihussain94.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/week-7-engl329-humanity/

Hey Mahdi

The story does represent society today and their caution towards those of an Islamic faith. However I think it needs some work in descriptions.
How old is the man? Does he have the stereotypical black beard or does he have perhaps a red or brown beard?
There is no mention of a bag until he reaches the homeless man. What type of bag is it? How do we know the man is homeless? Is he perhaps unkempt with shaggy grey hair that is matted, looking as though he has dreadlocks, not by choice but by his inability to wash his hair.

A writer needs to think of these things.I once wrote a story in which a young girl hands her father (who is paralysed in a hospital bed) a bunch of flowers. The story was good and won an award for literature, but when I read it to a famous novelist, she asked “what type of flowers were they?”
I said that it didn’t really matter.
She said, ” Oh but it does. You are trying to create a picture in my mind and I need to know. It’s your job as the writer to know”.
So now I pass her wisdom to you my friend.

Dave

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Purity : Patrick White and Brett Whiteley.

In the Interview on the Life and Faith of Patrick White, David Marr makes the point that Patrick had left conservative religion and went on his own search. His exploration took him on a journey through some Christian Mysticism, Carl Jung,

White lived a life of Simplicity. He portrayed simple people as very wise and spiritual people in a number of his books, including the one we studied. Riders in the Chariot portrays Miss Hare as one with great faith, but simple of mind.

The 1979 Billy Graham Crusade was a turning point for Patrick White. He decided that he couldn’t be a Christian any longer, as he didn’t wish to be associated with a religion which was more like a performance…”religion as opera”.

But it is Marr’s comments about the Patrick white book, The Twyborn Affair which perked my interest in purity and Patrick White. Patrick White writes in that book that “What life is about is the pursuit of Purity”. It was important for Patrick. A purity which incorporated moral purity, purity of life, of work and of spirit.

Patrick wanted to be a good man and defined good as being pure.

Brett Whiteley painted Alchemy as an Autobiographical painting in which if one reads it from right to left, finishes with gold, the pure product of the alchemist, and White, the colour of purity.

Brett Whiteley was inspired by Patrick White to the extent that he included a depiction of him in the work Alchemy.Brett Whiteley also left conventional Christianity and  went on a spiritual journey that took him through the world of drugs, and eastern religions. He also looked at Blake at one stage, depicting Blake’s “Grain of Sand” on the same panel as his exploration depictions.

By depicting purity at the end of his life, I believe Brett Whiteley was seeking purity. I also believed he shared the views of White when White expressed contempt at one who was talented but not working on that talent as contemptible. But he saw in the writer Yukio Mishima one who sought to perfect his art, and one who sacrificed all for it as a pure soul; having achieved purity. Mishima had completed his journey and so decided to end it. I believe Whiteley  was in awe of Mishima, and painted his portrait as a dedication to the writer.

We all search for something. Searching for purity seems good to me. I feel I have not let Patrick White down. My aim in life is to share beauty with those who cannot see it for themselves. I strive to do that. My motto is Creativity is a gift, given sparingly, to be used wisely. I think Patrick White would approve.

Dave

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