Summary of the Poem Leisure by WH Davies
Summary of the Poem Leisure
The poem starts with a question about the life, which is full of worries and cares and has deprived the modern man of leisure to enjoy the beauty and charms of nature. The poet depicts that we are absorbed so much in the problems of the world that we have no time to stand and see the beauties of this world. We are so busy in our daily routine that we have no time to watch what nature has got to show us. It seems that cattle are better than we are as they have the leisure to stand under the branches of trees and enjoy the blessings of nature. Similarly we pass through jungle like a blind man who does not see the beautiful creatures of the wood.
We have no time to stand and watch the habits of the little squirrel that is hiding the nuts in the grass for the rainy season. We have no eyes for the beauties of nature. The streams appear so beautiful in daylight, the rays of the sunshine like stars in the water and remind us of a starry night. So with the help of beautiful simile, the poet compares the shining water of the stream to a starlet night but also we have not got the time to appreciate its beauty because we are busy in our own petty problems. Then the poet personifies beauty as living being and regrets that in our rushed life we have no time to appreciate the joys that “Beauty” can give us, as Keats also points out.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”.
But we have no eyes to see this superb blessing of God. Beauty has feet and it dances well. Beauty is an abstract quality but the poet personifies it and in this way makes it a living thing that can move, dance and smile. She smiles with her eyes and that smile slowly conquers her whole face but we cannot relish that delight, as we have no spare time. As Thomas fuller says,
“The poor is not he who hath not much but he who craves much.”
So the poet comes to the conclusion that we are spending a dull life. Our life is full of tension and worries. This life is not worth living in only because of our busy routine. The so-called mechanical revolution has made man a machine also. He works like a computer and acts like robot. Time has become very precious for him. He thinks about time in terms of money, so he cannot waste time for himself. Our busy life has taken us away from the beauties of nature. Wordsworth presents the same idea when he says,
“The world is too much with us
late and soon. Getting and spending, We lay waste our powers.
Little we see in nature that is ours”
The poet feels that life must be relished in a leisurely manner. The repetition of the line “We have no time to stand and stare.” emphasizes the poet’s basic idea.
The experience of various emotions accompanying self-knowledge forms the attitude towards oneself and forms the self-esteem of the individual. It has two sides – content (knowledge) and emotional (attitude). Knowledge about oneself correlates with knowledge about others and with an ideal. As a result, a judgment is made about what the individual is better and what is worse than others, and how to correspond to the ideal.