The Permaculture World According to William Blake

William Blake, born in 1757, was a wise man, a great poet, artist and seer.

According to William Butler Yeats, he was also of Irish stock, originally bearing the name I share with him, ‘O’Neill’.

The story goes that Williams’ father married Catherine Blake and took her name to evade the shame associated with a being in a debtor’s prison.

William adopted the name his father took, despite being the stepson of Catherine, but, I digress…

These two lines from Blake, memorised when a child at school, have helped shape my life and influenced my perception of the world…

“A Robin Redbreast in a Cage

Puts all Heaven in a Rage.”

This, for me, simplified the connection between Nature on this planet and the entire Cosmos/God/Cosmic Energy/Higher Power…whatever one connects with and understands.

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This intuitive understanding of right and wrong, of how to live in harmony with Nature rather than trying to control and dominate this magnificent, regenerative force, has guided me into Permaculture. The more planting one does, the more evident it becomes…the inter-connectedness of all life on this planet.

The world in which Blake lived was markedly different from what it is today.

His empathy with the sentient world was profound and inter-connective, something we could all learn from as a way of trying to live in harmony with the Earth, rather than the continual domination man seeks:

A dog starv’d at his master’s gate

Predicts the ruin of the state.

A horse misus’d upon the road

Calls to heaven for human blood.

Each outcry of the hunted hare

A fiber from the brain doth tear.

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From the poem “Auguries of Innocence.”

Planting for the bees is the next most important thing to growing food in my book!

Always trying to ensure a steady supply of food for the bees,  Michelmas Daisies spread into bigger clumps each year and bloom all the way through late August, all of September and well into October.

They seem to be happy just about anywhere as I have them growing in all parts of the garden.

The birds are happy to feast on the seed-heads and the bees will feast before that!

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When one thinks about, it is easy to understand the vital connection between both, for without the bees, we have no food!

William Blake understood that more than most, for he was attuned to the Earth, both physically and spiritually.

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