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Lay for the Day
9th December


John Milton was born on this day in 1608.
Sometime around 1803 he returned to Earth, falling as a star into the foot of William Blake.

 

Opening Milton

“God, when he gave me strength, to show withal
How slight the gift was, hung it in my hair.”

Blind Christ-kind,
wife-loser –
Mary and Katherine,
RIP from birth –
whose daughters “would have sold the rest
of his bookes to the Dunghill women”,
whose only son John was
no sooner given than taken back.
Yet from the bated, rigid darkness of that bed

“The breath of heaven fresh blowing, pure and sweet,
With day-spring born”

 
John Gibbens
from Man's laughter / Simples

 

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

 

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