Stand and stare.

Leisure                       by William Henry 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 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.


Well, it seems we finally have time to stand and stare, as the world has stopped in an unimaginable way . This favourite poem has come into its own, but I am painfully aware that what we have to stare at during lockdown is not the same for everyone.

I have a little garden and orchards to walk in, but writing glowing descriptions of the birds and butterflies that I can see seems unconscionably smug when most people are stuck in flats with only concrete and asphalt to admire .

Beaches and woodland paths are closed. Parks are padlocked and in Japan they have had to cut the heads off the roses, to stop people going out to admire them and spreading the virus .  People are worried sick about not being able to earn money to feed their families and the leisure of not working does not feel like a holiday for long.

I understand why it has to be this way and if staring is all that I can do to help get the virus under control then it is no hardship, but I still feel profoundly guilty that not everyone can get out to enjoy this wonderful spring and “ turn at Beauty’s glance”.

I hope that everyone, wherever  they are, can find something beautiful to look at and can and stand and stare for a few minutes and forget their worries this afternoon.



12 thoughts on “Stand and stare.

  1. Cathy says:

    I know exactly what you mean. Watched a GB comedy programme on Friday night that was making fun of ‘rich’ people lucky enough to have gardens. It really made me think hard. But this is complicated. I’ve given up so much for the privilege of always having the time to ‘stand and stare’.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. lovelyandgrateful says:

    The pandemic has certainly highlighted the chasm between the haves and have-nots; I feel incredibly lucky to have a comfortable home with a garden, really do feel for people that live in flats and built up areas. Having said that, I suspect that with so many restrictions placed on where we can go and what we can do, many people will have more time and inclination to stand and stare than they did before. Take care. X

    Liked by 2 people

  3. carolee says:

    I’m feeling the same, a bit of guilt at my views and gardening opportunities, but it’s taken decades to get here! Also starting to feel a bit annoyed at all the Fb postings of “here’s the glorious meal we had last night” when there are so many without adequate food, and it’s obvious they are shopping daily or having LOTS of deliveries. We are eating simply and stretching it as much as possible. Love the poem. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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