The following is a wonderfully insightful poem by William Blake (1757-1827)
The Clod & the Pebble
‘Love seeketh not Itself to please,
‘Nor for itself hath any care;
‘But for another gives its ease,
‘And builds a heaven in Hell’s despair.’
So sang a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattle’s feet :
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet :
‘Love seeketh only Self to please,
‘To bind another to its delight ;
‘Joys in another’s loss of ease,
‘And builds a Hell in Heaven’s despite.’
I love this poem, its so perceptive, and beautifully written. It contains valuable wisdom for anyone wanting to be agents of grace and bringers of new creation, for the way we do things is as important as what we do. Most significantly — the way we love is of up most importance.
Stanza one as sung by the ‘clod of clay’ describes a sort of agape-love; that is to say, a selfless love embodied by the clay that gives preference to the treading of the hooves of the herd over itself. Conversely, stanza three describes a selfish ‘love’, an eros-love, seeking personal gratification. The first sees a cosmos with an abundance of love, where the resource of love never run out. The second sees a closed economy of love with limited supplies — the less someone else has the more it has for itself. Both ‘loves’ have the power to transform, and at any one time we are capable of choosing either.