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Earth's Answer by William Blake

            William Blake is considered a 'mystical' poet by many. It is easy to see if one takes his poems into account. The piece that I feel illustrates this quality of the man is "Earth's Answer." With the five lined, five stanza length and it's clever rhymes, I think this poem stands out. However, it does not rhyme throughout. This poem has the themes of good versus evil, in my opinion, and that is why it is such a powerful poem. The first stanza creates the image of the earth being in a state of sadness. Words like "despair" and "stony" allow the reader to immediately understand that this is not a happy picture that the speaker in the poem is painting. Within the first five lines, it seems that this speaker is setting up the mental imagery of an intense pain or suffering. .
             The second stanza brings out even more feelings of desolation. The speaker refers to prison, jealousy,the cold, and weeping (lines 6-10). This adds to what was built up in the first stanza, but also accomplishes something important. It introduces a specific scene. Previously, the image was only an overview of the whole earth. With the second stanza, a more intense focus is put on a certain environment that expresses also a state of mind, not just a physical place.
             Since a literal translation is impossible with this piece by William Blake, I found myself focusing on the pictures that the speaker makes. For me, the "selfish father of men" (lines 15) is either a metaphor for humankind or for some type of creator deity, like the Bible's Jehovah. The speaker is calling this entity "cruel, jealous, selfish" in order to show the reader that this is some kind of evil or disgusting force that should not exist. .
             In the second part of the third stanza, in lines 13 to 15, the speaker shifts attention from the father of men to the consequences of the father of men. Since he is cruel and jealous, he kills all pleasure and innocence. There is no joy left, it seems, on the earth.

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