He who Kisses the Joy as it Flies

I just came across a beautiful poem by William Blake. In his poem called “Eternity,” he writes:


“He who binds to himself a joy 

Does the winged life destroy; 

He who kisses the joy as it flies 

Lives in eternity's sun rise.”

“He who kisses the joy as it flies” implies to me that when we cathect to something or someone, when we glom on and hold tight, we can’t let them fly. We hold them back, and even more, we hold ourselves back. Being stagnant, not growing is moving backward. We become encased in fear and anxiety. We feel the only way to be happy is this way, or with this person. Such a mindset shrinks us, it makes us small, it feels claustrophobic.


When we kiss the joy as it flies, we embrace mindfulness, we catch the moment and seize it. We love it for being in our lives even for just a moment. I feel it when the sun shines, or a beautiful view. Today I relate it to my father. He is ill and in much pain. I try and hold on to the moment he is lucid, I cling to just a smile, an “I love you.” Notice I used the words “cling” and “hold on,” because our nature is to have that joy, hold on tight and never let go. I don’t know what the next minute will hold, but in that minute, Ahhhhh, I kiss my father and the joy that is flying.