The Blossom: Poem by William Blake - Summary and Analysis

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The Blossom

Merry, merry sparrow!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Sees you, swift as arrow,
Seek your cradle narrow,
Near my bosom.
Pretty, pretty robin!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Hears you sobbing, sobbing,
Pretty, pretty robin,
Near my bosom.

Summary and Analysis


     'The Blossom' is an expression of a child whose delight in birds dresses his imagination. In nursery songs children sing about the sparrow as a merry bird and the robin as melancholic. According to the interpretation of J.H. Wicksteed the poem has connections with 'Infant Joy.' In 'Infant Joy' it is an unborn child of two days old that gives vent to his feelings. In this poem it is a mother who thinks of her child within her womb.

The poem 'Blossom' is held as making oblique hints at, the subject of sex. A critic pronounces that the blossom is feminine and first she addresses her spouse as sparrow and later, when he resigns, as a robin.
The Blossom

Summary :

      The poem in two stanzas constitutes a rhapsodic address to a sparrow and robin. The sparrow is like an arrow in terms of its quick motion. The child, or may be the mother, asks it to rest in her bosom. Similarly, the robin, the bird celebrated for its melancholic chirping is said to be weeping with joy near the mother's bosom.

The Speaker :

      It is often pointed out that the speaker is either a child or a mother. It may also be said of the speaker that it is the blossom itself that speaks since it functions as the subject in both:

"A happy blossom

Sees you, swift as arrow,


A happy blossom Hears you sobbing, sobbing."

Nature Clad in Beauty :

      More than an emotional outburst the poem draws the simple revelries of birds when nature is clad in beauty. The cloudy elements of 'experience' are withdrawn, this interlude is not as joyful as 'The Echoing Green' or 'Infant Joy' though nature is not dry and void of its pets. There is the sparrow fleeting like an arrow and singing merrily; there is the robin also that sobs joyfully. Innocence is looming behind the scene but not of course as evident as in the sunny radiance of The Echoing Green. And if we accept the speaker as a girl with maternal instincts, we also notice her tendency towards growth and maturity.

Innuendoes of Copulation :

      The poem 'Blossom' is held as making oblique hints at, the subject of sex. A critic pronounces that the blossom is feminine and first she addresses her spouse as sparrow and later, when he resigns, as a robin. An arrow being erect in structure can represent sex. (The Freudian analysis of dreams support this view). The complacency of 'blossom' is apparent in its utter ance 'a happy blossom'. This utterance clarifies that she feels no satiety or remorse after the act of copulation. She devoutly admires the fearlessness of the male who is gay and strong before the sexual intercourse and flying like an arrow into her. Now, after the act he is pacified and meek, but still she is enamoured abut him as she addresses him as 'prety, pretty robin.' The critic observes: "Sexual intimacy is a subject particularly well suited to Blake's purpose in establishing a gulf between Innocence and Experience. The blossom herself, despite her tenderness, tends to be aware of the male sexual organ almost as a sort of pet".

Varied Interpretations :

      Other than denoting the subject of sex the poem is also interpreted as the uttering of Earth. The poem may be labelled as a comparative analysis of the distinction between "the insentient and unconscious" life of plants and trees, and "the more human dimension represented by the birds, or alternatively, the blossom symbolizes birth, and the two birds respectively symbolise the soul imprisoned after birth in the body". There are critics who do not agree with the sexual interpretation of the poem. They say that such an interpretation of 'Blossom' is anti-Blake.

      According to yet another observation the speaker can be a young girl. In springtime, we see girls plucking flowers and keeping them in their bosom or dress. Then, it may be admitted that the flower observes things from the girl's blossom. The poem may be interpreted as a celebration of loveliness and grace of the season of flowers or growth. Then the floral bloom, the chirping birds and the young girl enhance the natural beauty of the scene.

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