Explication by Stephen Pain

A common theme throughout Mr. Beattie's poems is that of regeneration/ reincarnation and metamorphosis. Here we see a classic statement of the concept of rebirth in the liberation of the earthly body/self ("our life's fire" and "body's water") and the movement into a higher transcendental plane of knowingness ("you too will know the reason"). Mr. Beattie draws upon a natural analogy that of the butterfly to describe the progress of the human child. It is above all a poem of tenderness, a father speaking to his son. The poem is deceptively simple in form with occasional rhyme ("season"/ "reason"), but its message is very profound. At the end of poem for example, Mr. Beattie mentions the doctrine of Karma transferral: "...you are/ as it was with me". One has to turn the Hindu and Buddhist texts to fully comprehend what lies behind the concepts in the poem.

On the night of his enlightenment, as he passed through a series of states of higher consciousness, the Buddha came to recognize that beings pass from existence to existence in accordance with the nature of their deeds (kamma). The refrain is frequently repeated: "Thus with divine, purified, superhuman eye he sees beings passing away and being reborn (upapajjamane). He knows that beings are inferior, exalted, beautiful, ugly, well-faring, ill-faring, according to (the consequences of) their kamma." Men are heirs to what they do.

From James P. McDermott, "Karma and Rebirth in Early Buddhism" in Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty (edit). Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions . (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980). p. 165.