William Davies was born in 1871 and died in 1940. after serving as apprentice to a picture-frame maker, he tramped through the U.S. crossed the Atlantic many times on cattle boats, became a peddler and street-singer in England and late in life, published his first volume of poems “ the soul’s destroyer and other poems”, in 1905.

William Davies

This was followed by “ nature poems and others”, in 1908. Davies was something of a recluse and the man was never as well known to the public as his work which achieved great popularity. What distinguishes his work form that of his Georgina contemporaries is the truth and simplicity of his lyrics.

As the title of the poem suggests, it is about the availability of time for relishing the various delights of life. These may range from the most ordinary every day pleasure of simply staring at things, to the extra-ordinary, like turning “at beauty’s glance”.

the poet is lamenting the rush and hurried manner in which we spend our lives depriving ourselves of savoring the richness and diversity that life offers. He feels that life must be relished in a leisurely manner.. the repetition of the line: “ we have not time to stand and stare”, emphasizes the poet’s basic idea.


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.