My Cart 


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.


This poem is in the public domain.

William Henry Davies (1871-1940) was a Welsh poet who started out as a rounder but ended up a respected poet. Raised by grandparents after his father died and his mother remarried, William was inclined toward a life of adventure; he traveled by boat to North America repeatedly before losing a leg in attempting to jump a train. He eventually returned to England, wrote a book about his wandering years, paid and starved his way into becoming a published poet and, eventually, gained equal standing with such contemporaries as Yeats and Ezra Pound.




Post New Comment:
Once I went for shopping accompanied by my father and son. There in market my son insisted on hanging on the railing and watch people go by. Overworked me got irritated and at that time my father quoted this poem.
Posted 09/22/2022 01:25 AM
Wow! My father, who never returned home without a book for us (9 children) to read, taught us this beautiful poem in the mid seventies. 46yrs on, it is still my favourite poem. It has inspired me to write a couple of poems myself, and now my son finds it inspiring too. What is life if full of care...
Posted 10/15/2021 06:18 AM
I grew up with my dad quoting this poem..It always brought a smile to my face...still does...I am now 48...My dad at one stage changed it for a poem for my sister, about throwing her clothes across a chair...Funny thing is she has always been the neat one......This is such an awesome poem..I actually want to try cross stitch it and frame it for my dad...
Posted 08/18/2021 01:21 AM
Learnt it in school growing up in Bombay. My father,a naval officer always encouraged us to read good literature.Elocution was also important and we were encouraged to learn these poems by heart and enunciate each word properly in front of the whole class.
Posted 04/02/2021 04:11 PM
I grew up with my mother saying this poem to us., ( born in 1931). I have never forgotten the opening lines and thought how relevant they are to our busy lives today, and have said them to my own children. How strange that this year we were all able to stand and stare, having time on our hands. It is a lovely poem and I?m delighted to have found it again and remembered the full verse. Michelle
Posted 10/03/2020 04:01 AM
I learned this at school nearly 70 years ago. It is beautiful. When I was a young mother with a husband,children and a house to take care of, some of these lines would flow through my head. Now I am old and do have time. It?s wonderful. What a beautiful , meaningful poem.
Posted 05/08/2020 04:04 AM
Carol Orvis:
As a girl living in Yorkshire, England, our Mum sent my sister and myself to take Elocution lessons. Mum didn't want us to grow up with broad Yorkshire accents! This poem, "Leisure", was the first poem we learned on how to say the words correctly in the King's English. "a's are pronounced long as in "father", not as in "cat". Thanks!
Posted 02/23/2019 10:05 AM
We must have time to stand and stare.
Posted 08/28/2014 01:48 PM
I love that line too! I never read that poem before, but it's a delight!
Posted 08/28/2014 05:30 AM
Enrich that smile her eyes began - what a beautiful line. This has been a favourite of mine for years.
Posted 08/28/2014 01:00 AM

Contents of this web site and all original text and images therein are copyright © by Your Daily Poem. All rights reserved.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Purchasing books through any poet's Amazon links helps to support Your Daily Poem.
The material on this site may not be copied, reproduced, downloaded, distributed, transmitted, stored, altered, adapted,
or otherwise used in any way without the express written permission of the owner.