Joy and woe are woven fine

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine,
Under every grief and pine,
Runs a joy with silken twine.
It is right it should be so,
We were made for joy and woe,
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.

William Blake

Don’t misinterpret this beautiful and instructive poem. Joy and woe are not opposites that are connected. Separating them reinforces the illusionary pursuit of what we want over what we have. They are complementary and  interdependent, “woven” together. One does not follow the other but is contained within the other. Not about karma or some equalizing force. Every woe is threaded with “silken twine” and every joy has “grief and pine”. Reminds me of “tears of joy” or Michael Franks lyric, “I am so happy I am sad.” Once we see this, the blending of these emotional forces and energies, we have more equanimity. Real balance in life is understanding this. Everything is impermanent and contains its own beginning and end.  

Austin Kleon

Know someone that could benefit from this information?
Share this post!​

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Every week I send out a list of 10 things I think are worth sharing — new art, writing, and interesting links straight to your inbox.

No spam. No fees. No Advertising. Unsubscribe whenever you want.


Weekly Ass Kicker

A healthy dose of provocative quotes, ideas, and recommendations to help us lead a more authentic, compassionate, and meaningful life.

Free of fees, ads, and spam