On Saturday, April 7, 2007,
I took the tube to Moorgate station
and walked north to Bunhill Fields to find William Blake's grave,
where he had been buried 180 years earlier.
A prominent stone assures visitors that the bodies of Blake
and his wife Catherine lie nearby.
In 1965, the stone had been
moved. Recently, Luis and Carol Garrido
used official records of gravesite coordinates in order to re-find
the original burial site. I stood on the spot that they discovered.
Soon it will receive a marker.
What looks like mysticism in my eyes is, in fact, a bleary cold.
Without me, the ground above Blake's body and soul looks more like this:
From another perspective:
The kind groundskeeper must have sympathized with my mystical meanderings;
he didn't kick me out until 15 minutes after closing time.
Daniel Defoe's monument, near Blake's, stands a bit taller.
And here's the first draft of a poem:
Standing on Blake's Grave
They razed his birth-house
At the corner of Marshall and Broadwick Streets.
They moved his gravestone in 1965,
In Bunhill Fields, near Defoe.
The illuminated 1960s did not cherish his relics.
Thus, his beloved London tallied a few more
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
A patient young groundskeeper
rides his bike in large circles
Oblivious until quarter past that the gate has been locked since 4.
Back out on Moorgate Road,
My feet skip through the drab city,
For they have stood on Blake's grave.
Who could measure, who could
Who could number the site?
Not Newton with his earth-bound compasses,
Nor the Ancient of Days from high clouds,
Not even Satan with his watch-fiends,
But Luis and Carol Garrido could frame it.
They dared frame it.
They laid out lines,
77 east/west, 32 north/south;
Just there for 180 years,
Not merely "near by" as the stone proclaims,
But directly under where my feet stood,
Remains Blake's body,
Rising to enter my tarsus,
Rising to enter London,
Rising to enter Albion,
In England's green and pleasant land.