Yesterday we were doing selections from William Blake’s songs of innocence and experience in class and though I found not a Blake fan in me, I did find the poem The Clod and the Pebble truly endearing, for little else could describe my (lack of) love life better than this, rightfuly placed, song of experience.
Now this takes me back ways to begin with. For instance, a week back I was called a ‘cynic’ (religious)by my best friend who said she hoped she wouldn’t become like me. It was strange, I’ve never in my life been called a cynic before, in any context.
Which brings me to the term ‘experience’, Blake’s songs of experience and the very poem im looking at.
Blake was essentially a Christian writer, alluding to the Bible time and again, not quite the orthodox neo classical and yet not a romantic, he was a transition poet, a cuspy, if I may. Those guys always muddle me, I mean are you a freakin Cancer or a Leo?! You really don’t seem EITHER to me!! Yeah, I’m cusp biased.
Blake, carrying a deep rooted Christian faith, yet being a harbinger of the romantics, truly just seems confusing to my simple mind. There are many who compare his former and latter seemingly conflicting songs and deduce his poetry to nothing but the rantings of a madman. No, he was no madman.
Blake was a Christian, yet opposed the authoritarian role of the church in religion. He celebrated nature, but saved his worship for the creator. A lot of this, and a little of that, I get the man, I do.
Some say he turned cynic while writing the songs of experience, but my professor rightly placed Blake a realist.
He didn’t dismiss God in his later songs, merely does he depict the ‘fall of man’ from the perfect world that was meant to be.
Yet, what does appleal to me about the man is his very subtle irony that doesn’t leave the reader drowning in despair after a song of experience, but poses a choice, shows a pre-fall state that man could still CHOOSE to remain in, and even if you choose the later, he doesn’t condemn you, he doesn’t incapacitate you, he merely understands you.
Many argue that the entire notion of the two songs are direct parallels to man’s state before and after the fall. However, paying heed to the fact that Blake was a deep rooted Christian writer, how then could he have written the songs of innocence when he is believed to be born a sinner?
No. In my opinion his songs of experience aren’t centrally themed upon a man-God relation at all but a man-world relation looked upon by God.
With this view in mind I will now approach the poem, the link is given below.
I am the clod, I am the pebble.
I was the clod, I became the pebble.
I was the pebble, I found deep conviction in being called for the clod.
I am often the pebble, deep within I am always but meant to be the clod.
I find beauty in the clod, I find strength in the pebble.
I am the clod. I am the pebble.
Blake was no madman. His contradictions were no more conflicting than those that lay within each of us every day.