The Mental Traveller
"The guests are scattered through the land
(For the eye altering, alters all);
The senses roll themselves in fear,
And the flat earth becomes a ball,"
The materialistic perspective which took over the psyche in the last verse, changes the appearance of everything. Eternity is forgotten. The surroundings become unfamiliar. The diminished senses are contracted, diminishing faith and the sense of security in a known world.
His dwelling place has moved, the world is less friendly.
Milton, PLATE 29 , (E 127)
"The Sky is an immortal tent built by the Sons of Los
And every Space that a Man views around his dwelling-place:
Standing on his own roof, or in his garden on a mount
Of twenty-five cubits in height, such space is his Universe;
And on its verge the Sun rises & sets. the Clouds bow
To meet the flat Earth & the Sea in such an orderd Space:
The Starry heavens reach no further but here bend and set
On all sides & the two Poles turn on their valves of gold:
And if he move his dwelling-place, his heavens also move.
Wher'eer he goes & all his neighbourhood bewail his loss:
Such are the Spaces called Earth & such its dimension:
As to that false appearance which appears to the reasoner,
As of a Globe rolling thro Voidness, it is a delusion of Ulro"
"The stars, sun, moon, all shrink away—
A desert vast without a bound,
And nothing left to eat or drink
And a dark desert all around."
This sounds something like sinking into psychosis where all reference points are lost and the psyche becomes disconnected from any meaningful exterior activity or reality. This sounds like Urlo.
stars = reason
sun = intuition, imagination
moon = emotion, love
desert = vacant, infertile
dark = enclosed, isolated
nothing to eat or drink = hunger and thirst, famine
Jerusalem, Plate 15 (E 159)
If this verse were talking about Jesus, he would be in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Verse 36 and following.)
Jerusalem, Plate 69, (E 223)
"Then all the Males combined into One Male & every one
Became a ravening eating Cancer growing in the Female
A Polypus of Roots of Reasoning Doubt Despair & Death.
Going forth & returning from Albions Rocks to Canaan:
Devouring Jerusalem from every Nation of the Earth."
"The honey of her infant lips,
The bread and wine of her sweet smile,
The wild game of her roving eye
Does him to infancy beguile."
We 'bottomed out' in the last passage. Now the direction will change. The male begins to feed on what the female has to offer. Honey, bread, wine and wild game provide a varied diet. He is still the old man so the direction of his growth is toward youth. When the female (material)
was old, she fed on the male (spiritual), now the situation is reversed and she feeds him.
It makes me think of 'Teach Your Children Well'.
A tricky aspect of this poem is the reversal process. If the woman or man is old she/he is growing younger. We saw this in Verse 6 where the babe had become a youth and the old woman had become a virgin. We see it again in this verse; the old man is led into becoming young by the 'her infant lips.' This imagery works best if it is applied to civilizations as having material and spiritual dimensions which are pendulums swinging in opposite directions. Each goes to the extreme of youth (minimum) and age (maximum) and returns to the midpoint where material and spiritual are equal.
These three verses are the bottom of the cycle for the male (spiritual); he has gone to the extreme of age and the pendulum has reversed its swing. In Verse 16 things are still falling apart; in Verse 17 nothing is left; in Verse 18 movement begins in the opposite direction.
Here are two movies which deal with the repetition or reversal of time:
Groundhog Day, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.