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Good evening, and welcome to another exciting instalment of Prosery, the prompt where we write short prose pieces based on a given line of poetry. Before I begin, a reminder that this Thursday’s Open Link Night will be live for the first hour from 3pm EST: link up and join us to read a poem live, and hear others share their work!

For tonight’s prompt, I have chosen a line from William Blake’s poem ‘The Chimney Sweeper:’

So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.

From Songs of Innocence (1789)
Frontispiece from Blake’s Songs of Innocence

William Blake was a poet, artist, engraver and visionary, born in London in 1757. He made his living teaching art, and illustrating the work of other poets and writers. In 1803, he was placed on trial for sedition after fighting with a soldier, who later accused the Blake of making seditious statements about king and country. At the time, this was a hanging offence. Though the poet was acquitted, the incident haunted him and ‘exacerbated [his] sense that ominous forces were at work in the contemporary world.’ (Norton Anthology of English Literature, Seventh Edition Vol. 2, p.36)

Blake died in 1857 in relative obscurity. The importance of his poetry was not recognised in his lifetime, and only began to receive real recognition in the mid-1920s, from which time onwards he was recognised ‘as one of the most dedicated, intellectually challenging, and astonishingly original of artists.’ (Norton Anthology, p.37). You can find examples of his engravings at The William Blake Archive. The illustrations to this post have been taken from Blake’s Songs of Innocence and are in the public domain.

Blake's Chimney Sweeper

For tonight’s prompt, however, you do not need to know anything about Blake, or even read the poem (though I have included an image of the poem above, should you be interested.) Simply take the given line and incorporate it into a flash fiction or creative non-fiction of 144 words or fewer.   You must use the lines in their entirety. You may change punctuation and capitalise words, but you are not allowed to insert words in between parts of the lines/ sentence. Please DO NOT write poetry for this prompt.

Once you have written your prose piece, link your post to dVerse using the Mr Linky widget below. Please also link back to dVerse in your post.

Now let’s all do our duty to our muse and see where the line takes us…