Blake printed the poem with the text set in the branches of trees, an image of a nurse and a toddler in the foreground, and a girl with a racket about to hit a shuttlecock in the background. G.S. Morris notes that 'the lines "Till some blind hand / Shall brush my wing" seem to follow the feathered shuttlecock directly into the little girl's racquet.'
The poem catches the narrator in an act of thoughtlessness that leads to the contemplation of the act and its implications. The fly suffers from uncontrollable circumstances, just as the narrator does. This humbling simile has caused the narrator to move from thoughtlessness to thought, and, as "thought is life", from death to life, allowing the conclusion, "Then am I / A happy fly / If I live, / Or if I die", a conclusion to which Paul Miner comments, "Brain-death is real death."