Leisure (W H 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 and 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:
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
This was today’s poem of the day in my Poem for the Day book and, given it is Easter Sunday and a time where we traditionally take stock, celebrate life and spend time ‘at leisure’, it seems rather fitting. I had ambitious writing plans for my few days off over the Easter break but I have, instead, seemingly embraced the essence of this poem and, well, have taken the time to ‘stand and stare’. In a manner of speaking.
Inspiration comes from soaking up the richness of our surroundings – consciously and unconsciously – and when better to indulge than when you have a little less timetabling (i.e. work) to distract you?
My peace poems have finally been submitted to the Reading and Writing for Peace project and I have made progress with this month’s short story during my time off, but mostly, I’ve been engaged in non-literary related things – that is, caring for my wee dog after a little procedure at the vets. If there has to be a point to this all, it is that, experiences shape us for the better or for the worse and, inevitably, will often seep out into our writing in some shape or form. I certainly attribute much of my inspiration for stories and poems to my aforementioned pup – those with dogs in their lives will understand the wealth of inspiration they can bring – both directly and indirectly - and walking helps to clear the head and fill it with fresh ideas.
Perhaps this Easter break will lead to some ingenious new material, perhaps not. But it has given me time to stand and stare, do a little writing, a little thinking and to take things at a leisurely pace before the wheels of work begin to grind again and I enter the arena once more…
PS Some poetic news which I meant to mention last week… Those with an inclination towards Ulster Scots poetry will be no stranger to the work of Wilson Burgess (Derry-based; living in Derry), who I have mentioned on this blog before as someone who has inspired me in my writing with his tales of wit and wisdom! Well, aside from having his Ulster Scots poetry books on the required reading list at Queen’s University, Belfast… Mr Burgess is now also available in Dublin, having made it onto the bookshelves of two well-known bookstores in the Irish capital. Read the story here. Well done Wilson!