Who is Urizen, Anyway?


In William’s crisp mandala

Urizen asymmetrically stoops

Laying dualism on the world,
cleaving philosophers’ minds,
inspiring theologians to settle scores,
He undoes the unity of chaos
splitting it to bits to fuel the fires of wars

Reaching down, this buff, man-like self
curiously in his prime
with old head coiffed white
raked by wind gusting furiously
through heaven’s open door,
Urizen bends to scribe a zero with his compass,
leaving nothing out, including all

From his plush but sanguinary perch
He loads the dark with that and this,
there and here, was and is, tendering to man
a dubious consciousness of bliss,
propping all its characters for a fall

by Jim Culleny

Graphic: William Blake’s Ancient of Days

“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.” —Daniel 7:9

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