Wednesday, 9 April 2008

No time to stand and stare . . .

I was reminded of this beautiful poem recently, when someone mentioned it on one of the forums I belong to. How true it is in this day and age.

As I was driving back from dropping my son off at the bus stop this morning, the birds were busy in the hedgerows. Two (I think they were Sparrows - it was hard to tell with the flurry of wings) were having a fracas in the middle of the lane. I slowed to a crawl and they carried on scrapping - buffeting one another with their wings, then they would lay side by side, seemingly stunned, before leaping into action and fighting again. Finally they realized I was there, and rolled into the dead leaves of Gary's hedge.

There had been a Mallard duck earlier, at the edge of the Alder carr woodland opposite Gary's fields. I think she had been dabbling in the muddy water where the Marsh Marigolds are flowering. She flew off as we approached.

When I got home, I just sat in the car for 5 minutes or so, and watched the wild birds. A Great Tit was checking out our tall old Russet apple tree in the paddock, looking for insects beneath the bark. He flew off and perched on a fence post, and then across to the copse at the side of the paddock. A Fieldfare swooped across the paddock and then up to the very tip of one of the fir trees on the bank across the lane, and two others followed him. It is still cold enough for them to be here - I'm not sure where they head for the summer, but I think it's Scandinavia. The Great Tit flew back to the apple tree. In the wing mirror I could see a Robin approach the car, and challenge it, tail up! A Magpie landed in our top field, and three Jackdaws, intent on worms, ignored him. A Chaffinch landed in the cooking apple tree by the car, and I noticed a Buzzard sat on the top of a telephone pole nearby, lord of all he surveyed. Up under the eaves of the house, the House Sparrows (sorry mum, Spadgers!) were feeding their babies, and taking it in turns to perch on the Sky disc. How much we miss, when we hurry by . . .

Leisure, by William Henry 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 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.


MammyT said...

I'm glad you had the time to stop, Jennie. Happy birthday. The poem is beautiful.
I've been walking some. It is a suburban neighborhood I walk in, but it's better than none at all, I guess. I am seeing a lot of spring growth and much that I would miss if I were just whizzing by in the car.

Pixiedust said...

Thats one of my favourite poems. I'm afraid I'm one of those that if it doesn't rhyme its not a poem. xx

Bovey Belle said...

Sometimes, even in the middle of suburbia Nancy, there are the most magical bits of nature - wild birds, occasional "rogue" wild flowers, and it's always nice to see what's growing in other people's gardens!

Pixiedust - I prefer my poetry to rhyme too, but having said that, I occasionally write poetry that doesn't! There's some in my earliest posts . . .