What is this life if, full of care

What is this life if, full of care

We have no time to stand and stare

“A long time ago in a school far, far away”

At the top is the first verse of the poem “Leisure”. I learnt this at school, many, many years ago. The 2 top verses have stayed with me. I thought it might be a good idea to bring the full poem to life for future generations. Especially now as pandemic restrictions are easing, and people can go outside a lot more. To stand and stare at the wonderful life all around us, and appreciate it.

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.

Download the poem “Leisure” here.


The poem Leisure was written by William Henry Davis in 1911. So if you managed to get this far, here is my video of the poem., with a Welshman reciting it. This is on YouTube.

What is this life?

The frantic pace of modern life has been very hard on people. With life slowly returning to normal, being able to walk outside again and look at the wonders of nature, is having a powerful positive effect on morale and mental health. This is a well-known Welsh poem.

With walking becoming more popular with many people as a way to get out of their homes, it is amazing the things you now see, that you never noticed before. It could be nature and spring returning, derelict buildings, rubbish, graffiti, or birds. Maybe you can make a difference and help nature. Drop us a line if you have a school memory.