Sans prendre garde à l’ouragan
Qui fouettait mes vitres fermées,
Moi, j’ai fait Émaux et Camées.
Hell’s Printing Press, the blog of the Blake Archive and Blake Quarterly, carries a portrait of William Butler Yeats holding a copy of his edition of Blake, the book that established Blake’s prophetic works in the canon of English poetry. Following the link will take you to views of the portrait in two states: the original photograph, taken in a New York hotel room in 1920 for the Bain News Service, and a reconstruction processed by me in 2017.
But Photoshop is more powerful now than it was in 2017, and Yeats was the poet who sang, “It is myself that I remake.” So here is a second attempt at seeing him in the same image with Blake.
She was Phoebe Snow, the white-gowned heroine of one of the most successful advertising campaigns in American business history: Earnest Elmo Calkins’s series of streetcar advertising cards (1903-1917) for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. This was the onset of Phoebe’s dream.
Its poems and its history can be read at http://cs.trains.com/ctr/f/3/p/264453/2986868.aspx. For the dream itself, however, no language was required beyond a few alphabetic cells of the meaning into which Phoebe was to awaken .
And because the alphabet was a dream, the awakening from dream to meaning was happy.
I also discuss Phoebe at https://jonathanmorse.blog/2012/05/26/as-things-fade-to-white/. The photograph above comes from the story of Earnest Elmo Calkins. I’ve post-processed it for color and detail.
This mariner, equipped for his voyage with ivory cigarette holder, weathered lifeboat, and rose, is Otto Kahn, the banker whose patronage helped Hart Crane write The Bridge.