The Persuasion of Punctuation

 The Foolishness of My Pen
Everywhere I look, in every book, the punctuation differs for Blake’s poem London.  The various editors decide how to comprehend.  The effect differentiates the meaning, confuses my mind, drives me to discern what is the cause.
 
Searching out the reason causes me to exclaim,  “Oh, Blake, help me.  Do you want the punctuation to affect me this way?’
 
Songs of Experience punctuates the poem this way:
 
Line 1, 2, 4, 5 a period falls on the end.
 
Line 3 and 6 gets nothing at all
 
Line 7 a semi-colon separates voice;  a period follows ban.
 
Line 8 is separated by only an artist’s slash of hand
 
Line 9 implies Line 10 is the end.
 
Line 11 a light dotted impression suggests an end.
 
Line 12 starts a new and then ends too.
 
Line 13, 14, 15, 16 leave the reader to decipher if to end but then my confusion begins anew:
 
Two more books reveal two more plates–the same–but yet different in the way they punctuate.
 
William Blake Selected Engravings :
 
Line 1  a comma gets,
 
Line 2, 3, no marks befall
 
Line 4  a period ends.
 
Line 5 and 6 a period ends.
 
Line 7, 8 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15, nothing at all
 
Line 16 a period ends.
 
 
The illuminated Blake :
 
Line 1 and 2 no marks befall
 
Line 3 a colon:  that’s all
 
Line 4 a period ends.   
 
Line 5 and 6 no marks at all
 
Line 7 a comma separate voice , and ban becomes the end.
 
Line 8 a comma separates manacles, from the narrator’s “I hear”
 
Line 9 no marks
 
Line 10 gets a period here.
 
Line 11 receives a period covered with two (lashes)\\
 
Line 12 no marks behold
 
Line 13 a period brings to an end what I hear.
 
Line 14  no marks here
 
Line 15 a colon:
 
Line 16 no marks no end
 
Could it be instead of one plate, there are three?
The effect becomes apparent as my words begin to rhyme.
Necessitating a look once again.
Difference appear a close look descends.
Yes, variance appear in all prints:
Variance of letters, variance of pen.
Variance of the worm like creature that creeps in.
Variance of shadow, variance of light.
Most of all variances on how to comprehend.
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About gramatrudy

BA degree in English with a single subject certification 1994 I enjoy writing, art (all forms), quilting, sewing, embroidery, photography (still and video), and most of all, my grandchildren.
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