From Nobodaddy to No One

It has been observed in the comments of this blog that William Blake was perhaps not an atheist. That’s fine by me. I love Blake, and I’m not trying to convert anyone to atheism, agnosticism or indifferentism. But what did Blake mean by “Nobodaddy” if not a compromise between nobody and daddy. Perhaps he was a deist, like Karen Armstrong, ready to pull the plug on organized religious cults but not on the supernatural itself. Paul Celan, who survived the Nazi slaughter, took Blake’s innovation to it’s conclusion. “Nobodaddy” has become “No one.”

Psalm by Paul Celan

No one kneads us again out of earth and clay,
no one incants our dust. No one.

Blessèd art thou, No One.
In thy sight would
we bloom.
In thy
spite.

A Nothing
we were, are now, and ever
shall be, blooming:
the Nothing-, the
No-One’s-Rose.

With
our pistil soul-bright,
our stamen heaven-waste,
our corona red
from the purpleword we sang
over, O over
the thorn.

(Translated by John Felsteiner)

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