Small Book of Designs
From Marriage of Heaven and Hell
W. C. Bamberger on the blog named Zoamorphosis tells us that:
"Klonsky was a classic 'Village Intellectual' who set out to know everything interesting there was to know—about drugs, drink, poetry, politics, and most memorably, the great poet artist William Blake. And, further, to combine all this in unexpected ways, give it some topspin, and serve it back with style."
Klonsky began his book with a striking account of his 'first and only' use of LSD. Were it not for the role that Blake's poetry played in that experience it would not have had such a profound impact on Klonsky.
On page 8 of Klonsky's book he relates the consequences of his 'trip' as opening him to a new way of seeing and an alteration of his awareness of time and eternity:
"My 'trip', I knew, would last from five to six hours...but suppose it were to take fifty years, sixty, a whole lifetime? What then? As if existence itself were a more subtly corrosive kind of acid, consuming and flaying us, almost unawares, from within and without, to whose pangs we gradually become accustomed until the end. It occurred to me then, as I lurched and plodded off the beach, that this is what Blake must have meant when he wrote: 'Time is the mercy of Eternity; without Times swiftness/Which is the swiftest of all things: all were eternal torment':
"Looking back now I can recall neither visions nor apparitions, disembodied genii nor spirits out of the vasty deep - unless, perhaps, that of Blake himself, whom I invoked to preside over the scene. What I saw instead ('As the Eye,' said Blake, 'such the Object') was the world as I had always conceived it to be, the only 'real' reality of matter reduced to minuter and minuter particles in a space-time expanding to infinity-eternity, no more no less, according to the scientific dispensation of Newton & Einstein, but which I had never perceived so 'im-mediativtely' and 'into-it-ively' until then."
These are the passages from Blake which were incorporated in Klonsky's intense LSD experience:
Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Plate 14, (E 39) "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is: infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern." Songs of Experience, Introduction, (E 18) "Turn away no more: Why wilt thou turn away The starry floor The watry shore Is giv'n thee till the break of day." Auguries of Innocence, (E 490) "To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour" Milton, Plate 17, (E 110) "The Mundane Shell, is a vast Concave Earth: an immense Hardend shadow of all things upon our Vegetated Earth Enlarg'd into dimension & deform'd into indefinite space, In Twenty-seven Heavens and all their Hells; with Chaos And Ancient Night; & Purgatory. It is a cavernous Earth Of labyrinthine intricacy," Milton, Plate 24 , (E 121) "Time is the mercy of Eternity; without Times swiftness Which is the swiftest of all things: all were eternal torment:"
"Blake intoxicates Klonsky, helps him look at the world with sustained energy, and from new perspectives - with the added benefit of avoiding the damaging effects of less literary and artistic drugs."
"Such perception, Klonsky points out, 'must be personal. . . [Has] to be seen by himself alone. There can be no other eyewitness.'"
Letters, To Rev Trusler, (E 701) But I hope that none of my Designs will be destitute of Infinite Particulars which will present themselves to the Contemplator. And tho I call them Mine I know that they are not Mine being of the same opinion with Milton when he says That the Muse visits his Slumbers & awakes & governs his Song when Morn purples The East. & being also in the predicament of that prophet who says I cannot go beyond the command of the Lord to speak good or bad Letters, To Thomas Butts, (E 712) "To my Friend Butts I write My first Vision of Light On the yellow sands sitting The Sun was Emitting His Glorious beams From Heavens high Streams Over Sea over Land My Eyes did Expand Into regions of air Away from all Care Into regions of fire Remote from Desire The Light of the Morning Heavens Mountains adorning In particles bright The jewels of Light Distinct shone & clear-- Amazd & in fear I each particle gazed Astonishd Amazed For each was a Man Human formd. Swift I ran For they beckond to me Remote by the Sea Saying. Each grain of Sand Every Stone on the Land Each rock & each hill Each fountain & rill Each herb & each tree Mountain hill Earth & Sea Cloud Meteor & Star Are Men Seen Afar"