Double Trouble: Lamech and His Two Wives, the fifth poem in Linda Chown’s Blake series

Lamech and his Two Wives, William Blake, 1794 / Image courtesy of the Tate under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported)
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 “When you see with, not through the eye.”   William Blake

[Lamech is the sixth generation descendent of Cain]

Our eyes can be a noose, shutting off all but feeling
when you can only see with.
Blake knows pain’s light’s so fierce
He thus turns it all bright white here unforgettable.
With no hiding in myth or long words,
we see only instant gutted grief everywhere
rolling in eerie-dense earthen white.
Everyone is seeing transitive with their eyes,
not intransitively and freely through.
A tourniquet of frozen seeing freezes word-say
And the three of them alive today only
Horror-see, struck in white trauma.
This painting chants impediment and limit
The very act of looking burns heart-holes with no exit.
This view is split into two larger than life grief crimes:
polygamy on the left and Lamech’s Cain-tinged murder right flat dead

When it gets this bad, everyone sheerly shrieks inside unlooking
No one sees each here. The whole painting a bleached wound.
Blake knew color and looking were dangerous commitments.
“Colours are the wounds of life,” he tellingly said.

Oh say can you see how it feels to be Lamech scorned and doomed
How does it feel at the end of the world when there is nothing to
see, but distance and heartbreak wrapped in “frantic pain”?

© 2019, Linda Chown

Mad Song

Like a fiend in a cloud
With howling woe,
After night I do croud,
And with night will go;
I turn my back to the east,
From whence comforts have increas’d;
For light doth seize my brain
With frantic pain.

William Blake

The other poems in Linda’s ongoing Blake-poem series:

  1. Refections into William Blake’s “Brutus and Caesar’s Ghost,” Linda Chown
  2. Cohering Clashes: Wiliam Blake’s “The Red Dragon and The Woman Clothed in the Sun,” Linda Chown
  3. This New Ending of the Beginning: William Blake’s “The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve,” Linda Chown
  4. Looking Up High: “The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies, and The Suicides,”  Linda Chown

Linda Chown

LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row.  BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite.

Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton