The Tuesday Poem: William Blake

O Rose, thou art sick!
The Invisible worm,
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of Crimson joy;
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

William Blake, from Songs of Experience

This poem always makes me shiver, but it is so beautiful I keep going back to it. I suppose some would say it's because the poem articulates a universal truth, the mortality that lies at the heart of everything. For me, it's also a poem about passion and about the transformation of one thing into another. The worm that munches the rose petals, thrives and eventually becomes a butterfly, or moth, laying her eggs on yet another rose.


  1. I have always liked this poem, too, but it does make me shudder a little as well; there's a kind of dark sensaulity to it, or it underlines the dark side of sensuality, perhaps?


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