Monday, 20 May 2013

Stand and Stare - Joan Lennon

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

That's the cliche.  That's the bit everybody can quote.  Lots of you may also know the rest of the poem, but for me, it came as a surprise.  Here it is, in full - "Leisure" by William Henry Davies (1871-1940):

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 or 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.

We are, all of us, busy people.  And William Henry Davies was not Shakespeare.  But he was absolutely, unarguably, ineluctably right.  So that's why I'm not here to respond to any comments you may leave (though I look forward to reading them on my return!)  Instead, I'm over on the west coast of Scotland.  Standing and staring.  Like the man said.

(This isn't me, or the west coast of Scotland, but I took the photo.)

Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.


catdownunder said...

It's the good thing about not being able to drive a car - when I pedal my tricycle I have time and I see things other people often don't see! I recommend the slower forms of transport - and standing still sometimes!

Sue Purkiss said...

Lovely poem and lovely picture.

Sue Purkiss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Taylor-Fergusson said...

A wise reminder on a busy Monday.

Lynda Waterhouse said...

Thanks for the timely reminder Joan and for printing the poem in full Am just going to stand in the garden after a hectic day.

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

an exquisite photograph... the texture of the hair and that foliage. Enjoy your staring. Hope you come back refreshed Joan!

Joan Lennon said...

Thank you for all your comments - it was a wonderful time away and rich with standing and staring - I've bunged up some photos on my blog so you can see just how beautiful a part of the world this is: