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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger
If you're like I am, you probably cringed at that line in the final stanza referring to "heathen, Turk or Jew." The phrase sounds disparaging taken out of context. But reread what Blake is actually saying: He is using the common prejudice of the day, that white British Christians are superior to heathens, Turks and Jews, and he turns it on its head. He declares that "Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell / There God is dwelling too."
In other words, Blake is offering a truly universal vision of God that transcends religious, racial, and cultural boundaries. God isn't limited to specific dogmas. God doesn't favor one skin color or one national flag over another. God dwells where the human heart in fruition has made a home for "Love, Mercy, Pity, and Peace."
Where there is love, where there is mercy and compassion and empathy, where there is deep peace -- that is where God is found among people, regardless of who those people are or by what name they call God.
And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.
If more poems like this were read, think how different the world would be.
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M. Granger's original poetry, stories and commentaries are Copyright ©
2002 - 2011 by Ivan M. Granger.
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