Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Staring

Here in France it is not unusual to be stared at. It's a pastime, just part of life. The French can stare for hours and don't feel guilty when caught in the act of staring at you (unlike the Brits who flush profusely and look way past you into the middle distance hoping that you didn't notice them looking at you). At first we thought that they stared at us because we 'looked foreign' though we didn't know why that might be so. Now we know that they just stare at everyone and everything - it's just part of the culture. And hey, maybe they've got it right. Whenever I think of it I'm reminded of this poem and it makes me slow right down....

"LEISURE"

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.

By Wm. Henry Davies.(Wm. Henry Davies (1871-1940) is to be considered as the poet of the tramps. Born at Newport, Wales in the UK, Davies went to America from Great Britain and lived the life of a vagabond. One day, as the result of jumping a train, he lost one of his legs. Davies returned to England where he continued to live the life of a tramp and a pedlar. He wrote poetry (presumably he did right along) and, eventually, he determined to print his own book and did so with the little money he earned panhandling. A copy of this first work, A Soul's Destroyer, came into the hands of George Bernard Shaw; which, in turn, led to the popularization of the poet.

1 comment:

  1. Full text of "THE SOUL'S DESTROYER AND OTHER POEMS" by WILLIAM H. DAVIES

    http://www.archive.org/stream/soulsdestroyerot00daviuoft/soulsdestroyerot00daviuoft_djvu.txt

    Thanks for letting me know about Davies. The University of North Carolina's Rare Book Collection has a large GBS collection. My Father was curator of the RBR until retirement and helpd build that collection. One of his friends, Dr. Archibald Henderson, a mathematician, was one of Shaw's biographers.
    I enjoy your blog; much fun.
    Cheers,

    Lawrence London
    Venaura Farm
    Chapel Hill NC USA
    http://www.avantgeared.com

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