Leisure by W.H. Davies

Stand and stare
Stand and stare (Photo credit: Cy Evans)

W. H. Davies


WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

25 thoughts on “Leisure by W.H. Davies”

  1. i promise myself that i will never let this happen to me.
    it reminds me of two lines written by tagore, they are a bit different yet similar, they roughly translate to-

    i have toiled so hard, spent so much to travel far away lands, to admire their beauty, yet i failed to see, the single drop of dew on grass a few steps away from my home.

    lovely lines, are not they?

      1. well, i only know those two lines, dont know the rest of the poem 😦

        and i can mix up the words of the lines. i adored the essence of the lines so i took them literally and always adored the morning dew drops on grass or rain drops on leaves ha ha.

        1. if i ever get my hands on the poem i will translate that, translating any bengali poem often kills its sweetness, have translated a handful of tagore’s poems but the original ones were far sweeter.

  2. As a recently retired person I now have all the time and leisure to stand and stare!

    Till recently I used to be inspired by Robert Frost’s famous lines:

    The woods are lovely dark and deep
    But I have promises to keep
    And miles to go before I sleep
    And miles to go before I sleep


  3. I would love the time to stand and stare. Smell the flowers, spot the stars and listen to music all day long. I may even be getting the time to do that shortly. But what does one do with the mind that tells you one must be occupied all the time?

  4. Lovely. And a lovely reminder which, only in my more recent years, have I reminded myself to follow these still words. I was perusing through some of my old writings a few days ago where I was musing over the same line of thought. Davies knew from an early age, it seems, to live these words. Thanks for posting it and reminding us all.

  5. This is one of my fav poem, I remember how our English teacher at school used to tell us to by-heart the poem… haha fun it was, and it’s an inspirational poem indeed.

  6. Reading this epic poem of W.H. Davies reminds me of Albert Einsteins quote “Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.”! Thanks friend.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s