Last day of work for a while today. Resting and revelling ahead.
As its Frigg’s day it’s time for a bit of poetry appreciation again. And another William Blake poem. This particular one has come up a number of times this week and is useful for both my HR work and also personal development, mainly because it involves a deeply human experience – conflict.
I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I waterd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.
And into my garden stole,
When the night had veild the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
It doesn’t sound the kind of love and light and lala you would expect but to me what is actually underneath clearly dark and foreboding tones is a quiet message of letting go of the ego. I see this poem as a warning of when ego gets the best of us, how destructive it can be, just because we were too proud or too afraid (both stemming from fear) to share how we felt about another person’s actions.
I use this a lot with managers in the workplace where their emotions have been triggered by a member of their team and they choose not to confront the issue. I’ve also used it for myself in and outside of work. Admittedly, on some occasions, facing up and telling my wrath has taken a little longer that I would have liked.
Another level this poem resonates is the inner conflict that that lovely ego likes to put us through. Being angry with ourselves and allowing that to eat away which sometimes can cause dis-ease as the anger is internalised, manifesting physical symptoms such as inflammation and stomach pain. Our mind creating the toxic fruit of the tree which is borne by the body.
I also see the more positive message of meditation and mindfulness in the first verse which relates to the observer listening to the voice of the ego, offering us the strength to let something go.
Not as hopeful as the Clod and the Pebble but another important message nonetheless. One needed on a quest for spirirtual development and following my dream.
Connect with your feelings, hand them over to your observer, let go of the fear.