I once glanced up at a tree and found it full of angels singing praises to God.
—Blake

If I’m to take this visionary quote
As something of a challenge (not a bad
Way of taking everything he wrote)
It isn’t one I’d be exactly glad
To tackle. Angels thronged those wild eyes!
The realist in me would settle for
The gleam (to name a consolation prize)
Which Wordsworth was at pains to say he saw
In nature (as a kid at least), but this,
If it ever lent its lucence to my view,
Has been long since retired to the shelf.
Which doesn’t mean a tree, though angelless,
Won’t move me now and then to loose a few
Notes of praise from the old throat myself.

 

 

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 23 Number 3, on page 29
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https://newcriterion.com//issues/2004/11/though-angelless