Monday, 22 October 2012

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

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.

This poem, To See a World in a Grain of Sand, by William Blake, has endless meanings.

The idea, the idea of seeing the world as one grain of sand, is quite amazing. Think of the world as one, just one, not many. Everyone thinks the world is huge, the biggest thing, so to think of the world as one small grain of sand, hasn't ever crossed my mind.

In this poem, William Blake is using metaphorical language. Heaven is a wild flower, while earth is a grain of sand. It really narrows your mind down, when you think of big things as small, everyday objects. Compared to a wild flower, a grain of sand is tiny. Compared to heaven, the world is tiny. This poem definitely emphasizes the fact that Heaven is a lot more bigger and better than the world. A flower is much prettier than a grain of sand. Which is saying that Heaven is much prettier than the world.

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand. Infinity. The meaning of infinity is never-ending. Can infinity fit in the palm of you hand? Maybe. Again, it's metaphorical. Maybe William Blake is trying to make you imagine yourself as God. When everything to you is small, and in your control. He wants you to see everything as a whole, and as small, everyday things.

Eternity in an hour. The meaning of eternity is never-ending time. Never-ending time in an hour? You have to imagine such a small amount of time representing a big amount of time. 

But why? Why is William Blake trying to make us see this way? Well, I bet everyone has different interpretations of it, but I think he just wants to show us a different way of seeing the world and heaven, and that once you narrow your mind down to think like this, it is so much easier clearer to see everything in this way.

It takes lots and lots of time and effort to write something which has so much meaning. It has taken me 2 weeks to finish this blog post, and it takes ages to figure out what this poem is trying to say. I have to say, this has been the hardest blog post I have ever done, but it was worth it!


  1. So great seeing you yesterday. :) And glad you took your time and felt proud once you wrote this post. Great stuff. This is my favorite line:
    "Maybe William Blake is trying to make you imagine yourself as God. When everything to you is small, and in your control. He wants you to see everything as a whole, and as small, everyday things." I am really looking forward to talking about poetry with you guys. It's going to be a trip.

    See you soon.

    Ms. P

  2. Great post Navya!I really like your idea of comparing big things to small, everyday objects!

  3. Thank you for your analysis of William Blake's timeless poem; however, please allow me to advise you that it is entitled "Auguries of Innocence".
    Blake penned "Auguries of Innocence" in his notebook in 1803 but it was not published until almost 60 years later.
    I think you have given a good analysis of the poem but I would add that its main intention is to help us understand that we are only here on this Earth for a very short time. And so we should use what precious time we have to care for each other, to respect the beauty of nature, to protect the rights of animals, to treasure the beliefs and the dreams of our children, to develop empathy for those of us who are disadvantaged, and to consider the consequences of greed and conceit.
    Blake wants us to open our eyes, to observe the small things around us so we may see the big picture. And I think the final stanza of the poem says it all: God is not so much a "human" figure as he is the image of all that he made -- the things we see around us that are forever truthful and innocent and beautiful.
    Best wishes,

  4. Kudos to Jon. Great poem for its simple truths: to see a reflection of something enormous in something that fits in the palm of your hand is to understand the universe and its purpose and through that understand your purpose in it.

  5. its actually amazing...keep it up:)

  6. Thank you for this, such an great interpretation

  7. Beautiful! Interpretations from everyone, mine is: a view from the universe the world is small like a grain of sand and heaven as a wild flower as it is better and beautiful, hold infinity in the palm. Of your hands, hold it meaning be worthy of heaven's in your hands, so you can be infinitely with God in heaven etternally coming the hour
    Thanx for this beautiful post!

  8. It reminds me of Thich Nhat Hanh's gattaca for washing vegetables
    "In these vegetables
    I see a green sun
    All dharma join together
    To make life possible "

  9. Thank you so much It helps me alot

  10. Correct me if I'm wrong here or if I'm repeating what someone else has said but I think that one stanza of the poem, "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 the hour" means that every minuscule detail is filled to the brim with things to see and when you realize this you also realize how inconceivably vast what we call the world is. If you can see eternal bliss in a plant that withers as soon as it blooms (flowers die once their genetic material is passed on because blooming is so energy consuming, I think) then in a field of flowers or just one you live forever. I am unsure about the flower bit however.

  11. Thank you for making this blog post!
    Helped me truly understand all the meaning of this. 🦋