The timelessness of the beauty of nature is often being forgotten by people due to the rapid change in the society they live. The transformation from a humble farm life into the sky-scraping industries that defines modern society. The poem takes back its readers to the tranquillity of enjoying the simplicity of life and nature outside the busy streets and life of the metropolis. The author shares the beauty of the forgotten pastime that was slowly forgotten in favour of the city life. The style of the author is paradoxically cheery yet nostalgic in terms of tone patterned with a short and crisp rhyme pattern. The overall impact of the poem is defined by the humble perspective of genuine humanity through the use of joyful imagery the author presented to his readers. The poem is brilliantly title to denote the things mankind are missing due to their obsession with temporary beauty. As time continues to progress, man has become a slave to time and technology that it loses his grasps to his roots- a powerful theme portrayed by W. H. Davies in his poem Leisure.
The seven couplets comprising the poem define its simplistic structure. The words used by the author mirrors the simplicity of the poem. The poem is powerfully introduced by a question: WHAT is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare? (Line 1-2). The readers will immediately feel obliged to question their lives due to the simple yet striking inquiry. The main purpose of author in using simple words is to tap a wider audience so that more people can understand his message. The simplistic feel of the poem alone encapsulates what the author is attempting to rely on to his reader that is there is truly beauty in simplicity. The theme of the poem is Naturalistic as demonstrated through the interaction between natures. The language used is not complex. Through focusing on a simple yet majestic natural world, the author points out those humans are nothing compared to the grandiose scheme of the universe. The thing about his work is that most of what he is trying to portray is not directly stated in his work. Meaning, in order to grasp his true message, it needs to be felt by the readers instead of read. It requires to be felt in order to understand the essence of his work. The meaning behind the authors choice of words and situations is to make people realize that they are indeed missing out on a lot of things due to their constant preoccupation with temporary material things.
In the poem as well made use of repetition, there is an observable use of the phrase no time (line 2- 13), for example “No time to stand beneath the boughs, And stare as long as sheep and cows: (line 3-4)” What the line is trying to say is that people lose sight of the simple things and in the processes fails to admire beauty in its purest form. To simply put why the author made use of this phrase in several parts of the poem is to highlight the growing dilemma humankind brought on by their obsession with technology. The author was straightforward in saying that humans, today, are too preoccupied with their desire of becoming prosperous in wealth. As a consequence of this desire, men are slowly becoming slaves to modernization because of the belief that the advancement in technology will aid them in their goals of becoming successful. What men sacrifice because of their preoccupation with material wealth is that they turn their backs on more important life aspects such as nature and their roots. By mentioning that men have foregone their time of simply standing and caring they slowly lose their sense of humanity. There is a satiric tone in the way the author ridiculed the manner of which humans depict themselves as the most vital component of the world.
The use of metaphors is predominant in his poem. The main reason behind the use of the literary device is to translate again man forgetting their original parent which is earth. It is observed that a certain line, the word “Beauty” in the line “No time to turn at Beauty's glance,And watch her feet, how they can dance” (Line 9-10) is used as if it was a name rather than as a description. The word beauty refers to the earth and the use of such word to name earth is a powerful statement. What the author is trying to achieve in this certain line is that Earth is indeed the epitome of beauty and no other material things that men are becoming preoccupied. Despite what technology and advancement have brought unto the world, they still fall to compare to the genuine beauty of the nature amidst its simplicity.
The poem, in general, weaves through a modern dilemma brought on by industrialization. As the saying goes, there is always two sides of the coin, when man continuous to be dependent on technology it misses out on the other side of life. The main point that the author is mentioning in his poem is there is a sense of supremacy in nature that no progress in time can ever waiver. The beauty of nature and its power is being admired by people who look beyond the surface details. What technology managed to bring mankind is temporary leisure as compared to the timeless wonder of the natural world. As observed in today’s time, trends come and go as if they were disposable, yet the majesty of the natural world remains to epitome of life’s true beauty. A powerful message that hides itself in a simple poetic structure, the overall appeal of the poem is timeless. The straightforward technique of Davies made the poem appealing as it yields people to reflect on their definition of leisure. Despite the simplicity of the poem’s structure, Davies manages to provide the glaring consequence of the rapid (and at times uncontrollable) transformation of mankind.
Harlow, S., W. H. Davies - a Bibliography, Winchester, Oak Knoll Books, St.Paul's Bibliographies. 1993
Normand, L. W. H. Davies, Bridgend: Poetry Wales Pres. 2003
Stonesifer, R. W. H. Davies - A Critical Biography, London: Jonathan Cape, 1963