Davies’ poem is one that I carry with me. Its a reminder of how insignificant we are, how volatile the world around us is. How little we notice of the world in which we, for an all too brief moment, inhabit. For me it acts as a wake up call, one to give me a kick up the proverbial, and get me to just ‘stand and stare’.
I did that quite a bit this morning, although I will say that I got more than my fair share of odd looks from passers by and drivers, all in a rush to be somewhere else. What initially annoyed me about this modern pace of life was that the local Church was shut. Locked. The entrance to this place of sanctuary, of peace was barred.
Then I got to thinking how society now prevents us from doing as my great grandmother did, that of hanging the back door key on a nail in the outhouse ( for the front door was only ever used for weddings, funerals or moving furniture in and out, and in my nans case, for clothes fitting, as she was a seamstress who worked from home in her latter years ) where everyone who knew her knew it was anyway.
My mood changed from anger to sadness at the world as it now is. I feel sorry for the future generations, whose every move will be monitored, recorded, examined. Will they ever have the freedom to live a life such as Davies hoped for in these words?
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.
‘Leisure’ – W.H.Davies.