Dedicated Apples and Snakes Volunteer, Nicholas Judge tells Shake the Dust a little about his Poetry Hero William Blake.

The view of London to seer and poet William Blake is of a repressive bleakness; of ‘blackening Churches’ and ‘dark Satanic mills’. The sounds of the city are of crying from the chimney-sweepers, cursing from ‘harlots’, and screaming from sick infants: all signs of the tyranny inflicted by corrupt and negligent authority.

Blake records the inhumanity to man and gives a voice back to those that have long since been heard; those who bear ‘marks of weakness, marks of woe’. Though, Blake sees the dark he also sees the light, he sees that ‘all is Holy’; that nature carries a celestial luminosity, a sexual power, a joy, an innocence.


Blake’s desire is a heroic one in poetry: to inflame and provoke action in those who read his deceptively simple poems. Blake’s heroic feat is augmented by his untrammelled inspiration and fervent defense of it, despite the dismissal by of his work by many (commonly for the originality of their poetic form, personalised framework of symbols, and marriage of word & image, ) his ‘illuminations’ have been making readers ‘see a world in a Grain of Sand./ and a Heaven in a Wild Flower’ for over 250 years and shall continue to do so.


That is why he is my Poetry Hero.



I wander thro’ each charter’d street,

Near where the charter’d Thames does flow,

And mark in every face I meet

Marks of weakness, marks of woe.


In every cry of every Man,

In every Infant’s cry of fear,

In every voice, in every ban,

The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.


How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry

Every black’ning Church appalls;

And the hapless Soldier’s sigh

Runs in blood down Palace walls.


But most thro’ midnight streets I hear

How the youthful Harlot’s curse

Blasts the new born Infant’s tear,

And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.


London by William Blake