Innocent Experience

Night Songs on Themes from Blake

I: A Song of Binding

“As the moon, anguish’d, circles the earth.”

The Book of Ahania, Chapter I, Verse 8

Her white ropes ensorcel tides, tricking land
to light. Cool sand will sift her tears, will weave
them—soft as petals—taut, into silk traps
for you only. Their long path, their slow sieve
gave tears the patience of stones. There’s no map
for you here. You’re not meant to find your way.
The bitten moon leads you—only—right here.

You hope you’re free to explore a white land—
to hide meanings and you’re free to leave.
The cunning moon—sad but firm—casts bright straps
that look delicate. Your desire to play
is her desire—her plot to carve sharp gaps
through your weak will. White sands sparkles. Light wraps
you soft—then pulls. You will stay—only—here.

II: A Song of Surprise

“…sudden sings the rock.”

The Book of Ahania, Chapter II, Verse 9

How did those rocks arise?
Knife out of water by rogue winds?
Or kissed, gently, into moonlight
to outline the limits of sin?
Whispers are mistaken for night’s
prophetic books. Meanings begin
to shape themselves out of cool light
into blue rocks, rising to winds.

Those rocks aren’t allowed to lie.
Stories take aim at precise ends—
unseen. Even the moon will miss
her escape. Blue curtains descend
sharp as rocks while actors resist
their play. Work lights rattle. They blend
white sand, blue rocks and holy mists
to absolve the sins of broken ends.

III: A Song of Learning

“…he wrote in silence
His book of iron.”

The Book of Ahania, Chapter III, Verse 9

Each page shows red—painted by sleepless rust.
They swallow words. Store them. Hide them from light.
A glass stylus writes lost letters. Dark dust
floats and air changes color—a lost flight
of failing robins held still by gusts
from no compass point. It’s as if last night
became a red tintype and all delights
had been stored away. You are left with just
some blank pages. Crimson. Salty with rust.
Ghosts of words slip off below lost light.

But that glass pen has a plan all its own—
lessons meant to pass down something like truth.
Someone’s cold hand moves it through this bone
chilled night, intending warmth. It desires youth
to find flesh, heat in red light (you can’t know
this. You are not allowed). Pen scratches. Owl hoots
echo on hard pages. Still words—new as shoots
in spring—will find some lost child, left alone.
The glass pen will hand them cold words to own.
Lessons passed palm to palm. Nothing like truth.

IV: A Song of Song

“Slumber of abstraction.”

The Book of Ahania, Chapter IV, Verse 2

The beach is hard as a sounding board. Waves
ring cold chords. White notes spray past the tide line.
Blue rocks cast keyboard shadows. The night wants
subtle music but elements will play
with dread force of desires. No elegance
here—just a strict and perfect tune of time.

A power rules now. It will have its way.
Let a cold melody wind its work—bind
you to this now. There’s no lightning to taunt
this sea. On this beach, this light, you are prey
for what may be loosed. You are beyond chance
here—brave in a strict, perfect song of time.

V: A Song of Daybreak

“…where bones from birth are buried
Before they see the light.”

The Book of Ahania, Chapter V, Verse 14

Now open your hands. Feel their white, cool reach.
Brush tangled hair away from weary eyes.
Let stars land on your palm. Release a sigh
for their imperfect light. Nothing here means
anything except light, rocks, sand, a beach
and—only—you, alone, left to unbind
your sorry soul from the miracle play—
here play is a game—The east will go gray
then pink. Walk away. Leave it behind.

This hard now is always less than it seems.
And the beach—a temple in cracked disguise.
Breathe it, suffer it, but don’t make it mean.
The tide that pulled back will be forced to rise
again. Secrets will hide under soft winds.
Sand will be white until this all begins
again. Other victims will learn to pray
while trembling. Hear morning sing through the rocks—
higher notes, not bound to fearful clocks.
Walk safe through white stars into glassy day.

Secret Keeper

I live for one thing: I’m a line of text.
The words are sacred to people long gone.
Their gods still live. I’ve met them. They will come
with early morning to remind my wet
tongue how their names are said and the few words
I can’t forget. Must not. I live on curds
the farmer leaves for merit, and he lets me
sleep with his cows sometimes. I wonder
what those words mean. Then I wake under
hard stars and listen for what gods say next.

The Legionnaire

It’s dark below the ground. The endless night
soldiers speak of with fear, with dread, with smiles.
They know their lot, my boys. We’ve marched hard miles—
The Rhine, Danube, obscure borders. We fight
because we’re told. We have no other reason.

For years, I’ve served my Mithra men. I shone
the dark-lantern beam on hand-colored walls.
Men saw bull’s blood flow, the holy knife fall.
I snap closed the light. Dark. Men stand alone

underground. I know their hearts. How they shake
with fierce joy, with fear and the will to serve.
I teach, unnamed—call me Milo—men learn
what they need to know. They grope the curve
of the cold stone to colder night and turn
to face a blood moon. I force them to make

sense of what’s to come, of what they deserve.