September 18, 2007


What immortal hand or eye...?

The poems from William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience have the ability to speak to all kinds of people and to people of all ages.

When El Cabrero's daughter was only a little thing, she had memorized most of this one:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And What shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Alas, between childhood and adolesence, something happened. When I asked her about the poem in the midst of her "cheerleader rage" years (a term she coined), this is what she came up with:

Tyger Tyger burning bright
In the forest of the night
I wish I may I wish I might
Get the wish I wish tonight...

In the spirit of the scientific method, of which Blake wasn't too fond, I can't say the cheerleading caused the mutation. But the correlation is there...

BLACK LUNG CASES INCREASE. This article by Ken Ward came out last week:

Black lung disease rates among U.S. coal miners have doubled in the last decade, according to new federal government data released this week.

Occupational safety experts say the figures reveal a troubling reversal from a quarter-century of success in fighting the deadly disease.

Ten years ago, about 4 percent of miners with 25 or more years of experience were diagnosed with the disease; now the figure is 9 percent.

Between 1993 and 2002, nearly 2,300 West Virginia miners died of black lung. West Virginia recorded the highest age-adjusted black lung death rate nationwide during that period, according to NIOSH reports.

The United Mine Workers union is seeking tougher regulations on underground air quality.

UPDATE ON THE LOGAN CASE More charges are likely to be filed against those accused of kidnapping, torturing and sexually abusing Megan Williams.

THE MORAL SENSE--Is it innate? And what does it consist of? Here's an interesting article about this scientific controversy.

CHIP VS. VETO. The House and Senate are nearing a compromise on expanding the Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP), although a veto threat from the Bush administration still hangs in the air.

ON THAT NOTE, here's an update on upcoming votes in Congress from the Coalition on Human Needs.

ONE MORE THING. Congratulations and a thank you to WV Governor Joe Manchin, who was one of 30 governors to sign on to a letter to the federal Department of Health and Human Services in support of the CHIP program.



Anonymous said...

I always think of Calvin and Hobbes when I see that poem...


El Cabrero said...

A few years ago, I grabbed a guitar and tried to put some of his poems to music. This one came out kind of bluesy.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I’ve not read Tyger! Tyger! in years. Thanks for the memory.

El Cabrero said...

You're welcome--it is a keeper!