What The Humble Housefly Taught Me About Life

Used as a noun to refer to the general agent which makes things visible, light is more than just a ray of a prism. It is in fact much more important than we think. During this circuit breaker period, no doubt many of us are dealing with solitude. It is difficult for us to see the light at the end of this tunnel. To preserve our sanity, we resort to talking to ourselves as well as some inanimate objects like the dishwasher, television, cutlery and spend our time doing things in a circular fashion. Recently, in between intermittent periods of living and resting— a foreign entity started to arrive in my immediate vicinity. Alas, tis the musca domestica or the common housefly. As far back as 1794, the poet William Blake already credited it in his work aptly named The Fly

In it, Blake commences by stating his dismissive attitude towards the casual murder of this innocent creature in the line “Little fly, thy summer’s played, my thoughtless hand has brushed away” before pausing to show regret in the consequent line. This portrays a clear parallel between the human lifespan and the lifespan of a natural species. The metaphor of a blind hand brushing its wing is used to refer to a grim reaper taking away one’s life. Blake ends the poem by highlighting the difference between ourselves and the fly. “If thought is life and strength and breath: & the want of thought is death; Then am I a happy fly, If i live or if I die.” Just like Blake had ended the life of the poor winged being, he himself understood the core of mortality, that he too would cease to exist one day. A very solid picture has emerged from Blake’s poetry and from this Covid-19 situation. Since the beginning of mankind, we have been anxiously fighting against nature. One grows, ages, time passes and we are no stranger to storms and . Does a fly pause to think? No it doesn’t. If it did, that fly would have a name and be an actual person. Since our time here on Earth is a finite resource, why don’t we all choose to live like our winged friend here?

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