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This poem is taken from PN Review 201, Volume 38 Number 1, September - October 2011.

Six Poems Stanley Moss
On William Blake's Drawing, 'The Ghost of a Flea'

Blake drew a giant flea inhabited
by the soul of a man,
'bloodthirsty to access,'
usually, 'providentially confined'
to the size and form of a flea.
This ghost flea is an inhuman giant,
its face and body part man's, part flea's,
drawn in pencil and gold leaf on mahogany,
tongue curled out of its mouth -
it clutches a bowl of blood
out of which it feeds.
On a heavy wooden plank,
near the feet of the giant ghost
is an almost invisible second flea,
a common flea. A dream of madness produces fleas.
Flea-bitten by wars and slavery, God's messengers
visited Blake every day, found if the poet prayed at all
he kneeled or stood in what he called
...


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