Some people of a scientific turn were once discussing pompously, and to him, distastefully, about the incredible distance of the planets, the length of time light takes to travel to the earth etc., when he burst out “Tis false! I was walking down a lane the other day and at the end of it, I touched the sky with my stick”
Alexander Gilchrist, Life and Works of William Blake
Mary Oliver has this extract at the start of one of her books of poetry, and then leads into these reflections prompted by the seeing of some butterflies. It shows that there are different ways of seeing the same reality. In this case, Blake, with eyes of a poet or eyes of awareness, recognizes the closeness of the universe to us, even in our very breath. Sometimes our thoughts and preconceptions can get in the way of us experiencing life fully.
Seven white butterflies…
lob their white bodies into the invisible wind
weightless lacy, willing to deliver themselves unto the universe
now each settles down on a yellow thumb on a brassy stem
now all seven are rapidly sipping from the golden towers
who would have thought it could be so easy?
Mary Oliver, Seven White Butterflies