If 'The Tyger' is one of the most anthologised poems in English, this is undoubtedly one of the most disturbing and creepy. The poem mimics its subject, insinuating itself into the reader’s mind and ear, worming its way in. Its very ambiguity, yielding as many interpretations as it is short, unsettles and fills one with bodily dread; a radiation of meaning that runs along the veins and nerves. The voice of the poem has a downward spiralling motion, penetrative, settling at the core. And the separation between speaker and subject, the triangle between speaker rose and worm, heighten the sense of morbid entrapment. Technically, the manipulation of the anapaests and iambic substitutions is superb, and the rhymes read vertically tell the whole story: sick worm, night storm, bed joy, love destroy.
About the poet
William Blake was born in London in 1757 and spent most of his long life there. The son of a...