light, nature, Poetry Friday

Leisure these days

I’ve been keeping up with the November Poem-A-Day poetry prompts at Poetic Asides. Yesterday’s was  “Talk back to a dead poet. Choose a poem you like by a poet who is no longer living and offer a rebuttal.”

I chose the poem “Leisure” by W. H. Davies (1871-1940).

Here is the original:


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.

– W. H. Davies

My talk-back poem is more a reflection than a rebuttal. Some days I’d definitely prefer Davies’ brand of leisure. But, then, who can entirely resist ‘progress’?

Leisure these days

I think I’ll pass on woods and grass
if my connection’s nice and fast.

Ignore lithe Beauty’s dancing feet
as Google serves me sure and fleet.

Watch girl in sidebar smile or scowl
and not that pensive sheep or cow.

See YouTube arrow turn to bars
instead of watching squirrels and stars.

The stream of stars that I prefer
Netflix delivers all the year.

What good is life and what’s it worth
without the time to sit and surf?

– Violet Nesdoly (November 8, 2012)


I’m offering this poem to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by the dauntingly clever Ed DeCaria. Come on over to Poetry Friday: Findability, Discoverability, and Marketing to sample dozens of poetic offerings from the Kidlitosphere and beyond.

13 thoughts on “Leisure these days”

  1. Why bother driving all the way to the seashore, when we can just Google a picture of it, right?? 😉 I like the back-and-forth of these two poems…nice how your response – while seemingly opposing Davies’ opinion, actually reinforces it.


    1. Thanks Matt – and right! (The photo is actually one of my imac, at a time I happened to have a seashore photo, that I took, set for my desktop. So there it is–proof that I indulge in both kinds of leisure.)


    1. Linda, it’s all about balance, isn’t it? In order to be a good online ‘citizen,’ one must spend time online. For me it’s a lot about intention. I feel good when I’ve spent some time online because I planned to read postings by friends and experts, and comment or get information. Other times, though, I feel thoroughly defeated because I’ve been swept away by the tsunami of links and ended up frittering too much time…


  2. Ah, now look who’s “dauntingly clever”! Well done, Violet. I have to agree with Mr. Davies, however. I spend way too much time at the computer for work, but I’ll be out the door the second the opportunity arises. Though on the other hand…if my Internet goes down, I’m completely out of sorts until it’s fixed! Can’t live without it. Times, they have changed… 🙂


  3. I promised myself that I’d write a poem a day in November. Hasn’t happened. Not sure now how I do it in April! I guess part of what gets it done in April is going public with the promise.

    I love your response to Davies. Maybe I’d write more poetry if I lived his way!


    1. Mary, I know the feeling. Life gets in the way so easily. Miss one day, and then two and the whole project seems daunting. And like you say, the accountability is huge. So yaaay April. Store up those creative juices for next National Poetry Month!


  4. Violet, often I lament the loss of time to just “be.” So I can relate to Davies’ poem. But I also like my fast connection and get impatient if it slows down! Nice job putting today’s face on a dead poet’s poem. I want to remember this idea.


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