~ Filmmaker: Charlotte Herriman ~

The School Boy by William Blake

A short entitled “Schoolboy” by Charlotte Herriman, who says,

Experimental film scratching/drawing piece for my Frame by Frame animation class. I started out with a found strip of film and manipulated it with a knife and permanent markers. I sent the film through a Steinbeck film projector and recorded it with a digital camera.

The piece is about a William Blake poem called ‘School Boy’ where he questions the need for schools. Blake implies that the ways in which children are taught routinely in schools is not the best way for them to flourish. At the time, I was terribly frustrated with school myself! ;)

Here’s the complete poem:

I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the sky-lark sings with me.
O! what sweet company.

But to go to school in a summer morn,
O! it drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn.
The little ones spend the day,
In sighing and dismay.

Ah! then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour,
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learnings bower,
Worn thro’ with the dreary shower.

How can the bird that is born for joy,
Sit in a cage and sing.
How can a child when fears annoy.
But droop his tender wing.
And forget his youthful spring.

O! father & mother. if buds are nip’d,
And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are strip’d
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care’s dismay.

How shall the summer arise in joy.
Or the summer fruits appear.
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy
Or bless the mellowing year.
When the blasts of winter appear.