If thought is life…

I am enjoying the benefits of a screened porch as I write this blog post. Just beyond the screen, flies are in their abundance and from time to time when sitting outside I use my hand to move then off my face and off my book. Flies sure do spoil a picnic lunch or dinner. Perhaps we should have a little sympathy for the romantic poet William Blake who having swatted a fly with his hand is suddenly stunned by the reality that such action ended the life of the fly. Yet from that simple action gave birth to his wonderful simple poem The Fly. Blake does ask the question about life and death and notes that the only thing different between humankind and the animal kingdom is the ability of “thought”. Yet because we can think we are troubled by the thought of death and as such our days are lived very differently from the little fly. As always there are many ways to read a poem and so I leave it with you to make of the poem what you will – the questions of life or death, thought or no thought, divine or human. Enjoy these summer days and enjoy this poem which is not often listed as one of his best! I enjoyed it.

The Fly    William Blake  1757-1827

Little fly,
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath,
And the want
Of thought is death,

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

Holy God,
I give thanks for the beauty of life all around me.
From the tallest of mountains,
to the deepest of seas,
your glory abounds.
From the elephant to the earwig,
from the atom to the antelope,
your creative power abounds.
I praise the work of scientists, and
the work of astrologists who today
are brining to our eyes a feast of galaxies,
never before seen, and by many of us never
even imagined!
Holy God,
help me to pause and ponder
the miraculous.
And as I try to comprehend
the incomprehensible
fill my mind with your wonder, and
grant me the wisdom of the psalmist:-
*The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge. Amen. (*Psalm 19)

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