By Larry Fyffe
Likely unknown to William Blake is the Colonial Baroque poetics of Edward Taylor, but Modernist poet Hart Crane, and singer/songwriter Bob Dylan are well aware of the earthy, watery, fiery, and airy images of the preRomantic Blake.
In the following love poem (“Permit me voyage, love, into your hands”), Hart Crane tangles up a Romantic image of an everlasting river; an Alchemic image of the regenerative fire-bird; and a Baroque image of a man-made barque:
Nothing so flagless as this piracy .... O river mingling toward the sky And harbour of the phoenix' breast My eyes are pressed black against the prow The derelict and blinded guest (Hart Crane: Voyages)
Ezra Pound promotes the use of concise imagery in poetry, and Hart Crane ploughs the literary technic into the ground. He tangles up a number of objective correlatives, and almost turns them completely meaninglessness.
Singer/songwriter Bob Dylan picks up on Crane’s poetics even as he pokes Freudian fun at it:
Well my ship is in the harbour And the sails are spread Listen to me, pretty baby Lay your hand on my head Beyond here lies nothin' Nothin' done and nothin' said (Bob Dylan: Beyond Here Lies Nothing)
The construction and structure of the Brooklyn Bridge serves Crane (who’s influenced by Emanuel Swedenborg) as a symbolic link between the physical and spiritual energies of mankind.
Poet William Blake (also influenced by Swedenborg) imagines the link to be a chariot of fire:
Bring me my Spear; O clouds unfold Bring me my Chariot of Fire! (William Blake: Jerusalem)
Hart Crane writes:
So to thine everpresence, beyond time Like spears ensanguined of one tolling star That bleeds infinity - the orphic strings Sidereal phalanxes, leap and converge One Song, one Bridge of Fire! (Hart Crane: Atlantis)
Alchemic fires a-burning, Bob Dylan laments the death of singer/songwriter John Lennon:
Shine your light Movin' on You burned so bright Roll on, John I heard the news today, oh boy They put a wreath upon your door Now the city gone dark, there ain't no more joy They hauled your ship up on the shore (Bob Dylan: Roll On, John)
Hart Crane takes inspiration from the Gothic Romantic poet Keats:
The ancient names, return to home to our own Hearths, there to eat an apple and recall The songs that gypsies dealt us at Marseille Or how the priests walked, slowly through Bombay Or to read you, Walt, knowing us in thrall To that deep wonderment, our native clay (Hart Crane: Cape Hatteras)
As indicated by the poem below:
I see a lily on thy brow With anguish moist, and fever-dew .... I saw pale kings and princess too Pale warriors, death-pale were they all They cried, "La Belle Dame Sans Merci Hath thee in thrall" (John Keats: La Belle Dame Sans Merci)
Below, lyrics from Transcendentalist Romantic poet Wordsworth who influences Walt Whitman:
Five years have past; five summers, with the length Of five long winters! And again I hear These waters rolling from these mountain-streams With a soft inland murmur (William Wordsworth: Tintern Abbey)
Both Keats and Wordsworth are paid a tribute in the song below:
You trampled on me as you passed You left the coldest kiss upon my brow All my doubts and fears have gone at last I've nothin' more to tell you now I walk by tranquil lakes and streams As each new season's dawn awaits (Bob Dylan: Tell Ol' Bill)