Heaven’s Smile

To Winter by William Blake

O winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.

He hears me not, but o’er the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchain’d, sheathed
In ribbed steel; I dare not lift mine eyes;
For he hath rear’d his sceptre o’er the world.

Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings
To his strong bones, strides o’er the groaning rocks:
He withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.

He takes his seat upon the cliffs, the mariner
Cries in vain. Poor little wretch! that deal’st
With storms, till heaven smiles, and the monster
Is driven yelling to his caves beneath Mount Hecla.

How many have suffered as the poor little wretched mariners in Blake’s beautiful poem! Desperate to know a different experience and frantically searching for ways to make heaven smile to rid themselves of the cheerless monster which “freezes up” the their “frail lives” at every turn, such men look to the words and lives of prophets and pray to gods of their imaginations for guidance, deliverance and salvation.

Who or what shall set them free? Unless a man sees that the answer – the smile – is within him, he shall seek and never find.

3 thoughts on “Heaven’s Smile

  • That poem depicts such a strong image of the struggle. It can seem a riddle until you begin to discover the navigator within.

  • It is so easy to get caught in a trap of waiting for fairer weather before one releases ones unique smile into the world. On that basis many lives are lived in vain. What a wonderful. world this would be if each person released there inherent potential just as it now is, without waiting for a better time. Thank you Gregg for your daily courage in doing just that.

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