Jerusalem or Babylon

Janet listened to all this in a kind of dream, as she always did when her mother spoke of things that brought the world back there alive in her; she clung to every detail, she couldn’t get enough of it. She was in love with this other life her parents had lived; with Scotland and a time before they came to Australia, before she was born, that was her time too, extending her life back beyond the few years she could actually recall, and giving reality to a world she had need of; more alive and interesting, more crowded with things, with people too, than the one she was in.¹


When she glances up again, for she has been dozing, the misty blue out there has become indigo; the first lights have been doused, though the houses themselves do not fade from her mind, or the children who are sleeping in them. The first bright line of moonlight has appeared out on the mudflats, marking the ever moving, ever approaching, ever receding shore. All this a kind of praying.²

¹Malouf, D. (1993, 49)

²Malouf, D. (1993, 181)

Whether this is Jerusalem or Babylon we know not.  —William Blake: The Four Zoas

Featured Image: Blake Jerusalem Plate 20 copy E lower detail [Wikimedia Commons]


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