Write an essay on the importance of imagery and sound in the work of a poet or poets you have studied.
In Songs of Innocence and of Experience, by William Blake, imagery and sound are both very important. They help express ideas effectively and link the poems together.
Blake uses different types of imagery, the first of which is nature imagery. In London, the "charter"d Thames does flow". The Thames is part of nature but in London it is described as "charter"d" showing that it has been restricted and controlled. This helps express the idea that society is so full of restrictions that it even has control over natural things, mapping them out and restricting their spontaneity.
Natural imagery is also used in Nurse's Song but to express a completely different idea. "in the sky little birds fly, And the hills are all cover"d with sheep." This immediately conjures an image of boundless rolling hills and unrestricted freedom. This contrasts the difference between innocence and experience as seen by Blake. Innocence is the freedom of the human spirit while experience is the human spirit bound by restrictions and prohibitions. This shows Blake's main theme shown in the full title of his poetry, Songs of Innocence and of Experience: Showing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul.
Another main form of imagery used by Blake is colour imagery. In London, "Every blackening Church appals," the use of the colour black in reference to the Church is a bit of an oxymoron as black is considered the colour of the devil. In this context, the blackening of the Church isn't literal but is the blackening of the Church's values and reputation. The Church is seen as being hypocritical, preaching love and kindness but ignoring the suffering surrounding it. The Church is one of the institutions placing restrictions on society and its blackening shows Blake's contempt at its falseness. The colour black is used very effectively in this instance to convey Blake's view of the Church.