begin page 54 | back to top

Cold Colloquy

So we red-eyed it from Vancouver to TO
where it was cold as February, you know—
and lined up for BLAKE—in letters six-feet high—
that morning some twenty years gone by
outside and inside the AGO.
This ‘optic heart’ remembers
the burnished and intricately lined copperplate glow
of his Canterbury Pilgrims—what happened
if the burin slipped?

That evening as Frye held forth
on Blake’s Bible Illustrations (sans slides, of course)
one found them gently arising
in one’s still sleepless mind to his discourse.
Afterwards chatting with him and a few others
over coffee and cookies (it being the U of T)—
our wives discussing the Group of Seven—he
confiding that ‘Urizen is necessary,’ me
mentioning that I knew a poet whose zip-
code began with LOS: he
registering that with an augenblick.

Next morning outside the hotel at dawn I catch
a cab and am joined by a sudden highjacking stranger—
for the short ride to the Gallery (no danger):
guy sitting beside me says, ‘I’m Bill Mitchell.’
I almost reply I’m Haile Selassie
but manage, ‘I’ve read your book,’
whereupon we both lapse into jet-lagged silence.
Then he reels off,
‘If Blake wrote this when he sat down to shite
What could he not do if he sat down to write?’
‘Yeah,’ I mutter, feeling a bit warmer as we arrive.

Print Edition

  • Publisher
  • Department of English, University of Rochester
  • Rochester, NY, USA
    • Editors
    • Morris Eaves
    • Morton D. Paley
    • Managing Editor
    • Sarah Jones
    • Bibliographer
    • G.E. Bentley, Jr.
    • Review Editor
    • Nelson Hilton
    • Associate Editor for Great Britain
    • David Worrall
    • Advisory Board
    • G.E. Bentley, Jr.
    • Martin Butlin
    • D.W. Dörrbecker
    • Robert N. Essick
    • Angela Esterhammer
    • Nelson Hilton
    • Anne K. Mellor
    • Joseph Viscomi
    • David Worrall
    • Contributors
    • G.E. Bentley, Jr.
    • Justin Van Kleeck
    • Robert N. Essick
    • Dr. David Groves
    • Howard Jacobson
    • Alexander Gourlay
    • Warren Stevenson

    Digital Edition

    • Editors:
    • Morris Eaves, University of Rochester
    • Robert Essick, University of California, Riverside
    • Joseph Viscomi, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Managing Editor
    • Joe Fletcher
    • Assistant Editor Editor
    • Michael Fox
    • Previous Project Manager and Technical Editor
    • William Shaw
    • Adam McCune
    • Managing Editor Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly
    • Sarah Jones
    • Project Director and Assistant Project Manager
    • Grant Glass
    • Project Coordinator, University of Rochester:
    • Eric Loy
    • Scanning:
    • UNC Digital Production Center
    • XML Encoding:
    • Apex CoVantage
    • Additional Transcription:
    • Adam McCune
    • Jennifer Park
    • Emendations:
    • Rachael Isom
    • Mary Learner
    • Adam McCune
    • Ashley Reed
    • Jennifer Park
    • Scott Robinson
    • XSLT Development:
    • Adam McCune
    • Joseph Ryan
    • William Shaw
    • PHP and Solr Development:
    • Michael Fox
    • Adam McCune
    • Project Assistants:
    • Lauren Cameron,
    • Rachael Isom,
    • Mary Learner,
    • Jennifer Park,
    • Ashley Reed,
    • Adair Rispoli,
    • Scott Robinson
    • Sponsors
    • Funders
    • Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly
    • William Blake Archive
    • Carolina Digital Library and Archives
    • Use Restrictions
    • Copyright © 2019 Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly, all rights reserved. Items in this digital edition may be shared in accordance with the Fair Use provisions of U.S. copyright law. Redistribution or republication on other terms, in any medium, requires express written consent from the editors and advance notification of the publisher. Permission to reproduce the graphic images in this digital edition rests with the owning institutions.