Let’s face it people: there is a lot of bad poetry out there. But then, every so often, you come across a poem that stops you in your tracks. Poetry done poorly can be one of the most tedious and painful things in the world. Poetry done well is some of the most beautiful artwork that man can create. For me, this poem is one of those pieces of artwork.
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
William Blake, from his poem, “Auguries of Innocence.”
I recommend reading the whole poem (just google it), but this first stanza is my favorite. I read it and I feel a sense of wonder and awe towards all of creation. It reminds me that everything, from the tiniest grain of sand to the most beautiful and intricate design of a wildflower, is a miracle. Time and space themselves are miracles. This stanza alone captures all that in just twenty-nine words, and at the same time, it invokes powerful emotions to go along with it. Those four short lines cultivate imagery more total and complete than four pages of prose every could. That is the power of poetry.
What do you think and feel when you read this poem? Is it something totally different for you, or similar? Or do these lines not capture you at all?