006. Leisure. W H Davies Poem. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.
Man is always eager to observe and enjoy the beauties of nature. Only that he does not get enough spare time to elate and thrill his mind by soaking up the magnificent spectacles Mother Nature has created around him. It was in the midst of and from these beauties that man was created. Therefore his wish to be with them is only natural. When he leaves them behind, he pines in his soul as if leaving his homeland.
Primitive man who sat in his mountain cave watching the sunset was the first writer of poetry.
Archaeology and excavation of ancient sites of human living has taught us that there has been no time in human history that was deprived of leisure and time for rest. Whenever man got freed of inevitable and immediate works, he always found a bit of time to indulge in leisurely activities. Primitive man who after a delicious meal sat in leisure in the mouth of his mountain cave and observed the distant sunset was the first writer of poetry. From the snow-buried Neanderthal Valley in Germany and the ice-cold caves of Cro-Magnon in France, we have obtained evidence of the outcome of a hunting societies’ leisure, magnificent rock wall paintings.
The idea of calm and leisure exists in a sitting cat.
Man is not alone in enjoying the beauties of nature and leisure. Cats, horses, cows, squirrels, birds all catharsize their souls through leisure. Cats are the first to enjoy music, sunshine, rest and leisure. In beautiful evenings they have seen washing and cleaning themselves meticulously taking hours, walking to regular elevated acoustically apt places and sitting listening to their favourite church and temple songs coming through loudspeakers, basking themselves in bright warm sunlight. Cows and sheep constantly and steadily look at things far away for any length of time, but if we go and stand behind them and look for what is there so interesting for them to stare at, we will see nothing special and particular. They are enjoying their leisure.
Work stretches itself according to the time available to finish it.
One curious thing about work is that it stretches itself according to the time available to finish it. So practically man gets no time for leisure. Leisure is something that disappears from this world. It is what brought civilization and culture into this world and what will keep the world from falling apart in future. Without its soothing balm, civilizations, societies and nations are lost. Without its cementing bondage, empires of intricate economics crumble and fall. And without its promising prospect, man’s all achievements on land and sea and space would go to smithereens.
Admiring eyes of a tramp and rural shepherd in America.
W.H.Davies was a British poet who lived during 1871-1940. In his earlier years he led the life of a tramp and rural shepherd in America, the stamps of which can be seen in his poems. In his famous poem Leisure, he regrets the loss of leisure from man’s life. He was very keen in his observations of Nature, in which he stands in a line with Robert Frost and Alexander Pope.
Squirrels forget their hidden caches, man recovers them for supper.
Man is now left with no time to observe and enjoy the beauties of nature. He has now no time left to stand beneath the flowery branches of trees and stare at the things he likes as long as the cows and sheep does. The cattleman profession of the poet is reflected here. Passing through the woods, he sees the squirrels running everywhere and hiding their nuts in the grass. Sometimes they may forget to recover this cache, the thought of which makes the poet laugh heartily, for he himself had very often sought these forgotten stores in his hunger. But now he has no time to enjoy the briskness and beauty of their movements.
Watching star studded skies at night: The great pastime of primitive man.
The clean streams and brooks reflecting the broad daylight appear like the bluish star-studded skies at night, which indeed is a majestic sight to see through the woods. But alas! The rush of life urges the modern man to move forward, leaving the beautiful sight un-enjoyed behind him.
Innocent radiance of a smile would enchant anyone with its charm.
It is also good and soothing to see the dance of nature on the hills and valleys and meadows. It is Beauty dancing. A smile begins in her eyes and finishes in her lips which would take a little time for her to complete, and for man to observe. The innocent radiance of a smile would enchant anyone with its charm and embrace anyone in its warmth. But man has no time left to enjoy the smile of nature.
Dance of nature in the hills and forests completes with the cycle of seasons.
Some critics have shrunk the meaning here to the presence of some mortal human beauty dancing in the wild, and un-diligent readers also may fall into the same fallacy. But the logical reference here is to the presence of the perfect beauty, i.e., Mother Nature dancing in the hills and forests. The smile of nature is complete only with completion of the cycle of seasons, which means, to see the full smile of nature, one has to wait on the same spot through one full year. Man cannot wait that long and he have not that much time to spare. So, if this life is such full of care and anxiety that we are left with no time to stand and stare at the things we like as long as we wish to, then it is a very poor life indeed in this earth.
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
British Poets, English Songs, Language And Literature, Leisure, P S Remesh Chandran, Poems, Poetry, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, W H Davies
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Meet the author
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in Trivandrum District in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala. Unmarried and single. Edits Bloom Books Channel, world’s foremost producers of musical English Recitation Videos.