Leisure by William Davies – Summary, Explanation and Solved Questions

Summary of the Poem ‘Leisure’

The poem Leisure by William Davies conveys a wonderful message about how we are busy with our own lives and have little time to enjoy our surroundings and nature. He blamed people in this poem for the fact that we are like a machine and run every day without knowing the little information about our world.

In the poem, the demerits of the busy modern world are portrayed. The Poet expresses his disappointment with the incapacity and ignorance of modern man in reacting to the beauties of nature. Nature is the most beautiful gift offered to us by Heaven, perhaps. But modern man has little time to enjoy these little but precious joys offered by nature, busy with his job and caught up in worries.

The Poet says that our life is useless if it is full of worries and if we have no time to stand and look at charming scenes of nature. The Poet says that we are so busy that we have no time to stand for some time under the dark, deep shadow of trees in the forest. We pass by the jungle without looking at these natural objects. The life of animals like cows and sheep is better than our life. They have a lot of time to spend in the company of nature. We have no time to see how squirrels hide their nuts in the grass. To experience all these joys we need time. But we suffer with the problem of the lack of time. We have no time to look at the fresh and clear waters of streams in the daylight when rays of the sun fall on the waves of water in streams. It looks as if the stars are twinkling in the sky. We have no time to look at the beauty of a woman. The Poet personifies beauty as a dancing girl with a smile. He has no time to watch her feet and note the movement in her dance. He has time to look at her smile and appreciate it. The Poet brings out the quality of her smile. He says that her smile is moving slowly. It begins with her eyes. Moving slowly it reaches her lips. This movement makes her smile more charming. But we need time to note the movements and charms of her smile, but we have no time to do so. By citing all these examples, the poet shows his disgust over man’s way of living in which he has no time for leisure. At the end of the poem, the poet repeats the opening lines to give more stress to his idea. He says:

“A poor life this if, full of care

We have no time to stand and stare.”

Explain with Reference to the Context:

Stanza – 1

“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

Reference to Context:-

The lines quoted above have been taken from the poem ‘Leisure’ written by W. H. Davies. The poet in this poem expresses his deep sense of pain over modern man’s inability and indifference in responding to the beauties of nature because he lacks of time. The Poet says that the life of modern man is full of hurries and worries. Modern man is so much after material things that he has no time left for himself. The poet says that our life is useless if we have no time to look at the quiet charms of nature.

Explanation:-

The Poet says that our life is useless if it is full of hurries and worries. It is useless if we have no time to stand and look at the beautiful things of nature. Nature is perhaps the most beautiful and precious gift of God given to man, but modern man has no time to enjoy it. Modern man wastes all his time in pursuit of material objects. He is so busy that he has no time to stand under the deep shade of a tree and feel its coolness. The Poet says that the life of animals is better than that of man because they can stand under the shade of a tree and enjoy the beauties of nature. But the life of modern man is totally useless.

Stanza 2

“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 at night:”

Reference to Context:-

The lines quoted above have been taken from the poem ‘Leisure’ written by W. H. Davies. The poet in this poem expresses his deep sense of pain over modern man’s inability and indifference in responding to the beauties of nature because he lacks time. The Poet says that the life of modern man is full of hurries and worries. The modern man runs after material things all the time. He has no time to spend in the company of nature. The Poet says that our life is totally useless if we have no time to enjoy and feel the quiet charms of nature.

Explanation:-

The Poem expresses the poet’s discontentment with the lifestyle of the modern man. Modern man suffers from the problem of lack of time. Poet says that when he passes through dark, deep and lovely forest, he has no time to look at it. He has no time to look at how squirrels hide their nuts in grass. The streams look very beautiful in the daylight. The movement of waves breaks the rays of the sun into a starry pattern as they fall on the waves of fresh water in the stream. This scene looks as if the stars are shining in the sky. But we have no time to look at all this. We miss the little joys which nature provide to us.

Stanza 3
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 begain?

Reference to Context:-

The lines quoted above have been taken from the poem ‘Leisure’ written by W.H. Davies. The poet in this poem expresses his deep sense of pain over the modern man’s inability and indifference in responding to the beauties of nature because he lacks time. The Poet says that the life of modern man is full of hurries and worries. Modern man is so much after the material thing that he has no time left for himself. The poet says that our life is useless if we have no time to look at the quiet charms of nature.

Explanation:-

Modern man has no time to enjoy life and nature. He has no time to look at the beautiful woman and appreciate her beauty. In these lines, the poet personifies beauty as a dancing girl with smiling eyes. He has no time to watch her feet and note the movements of her dance. He has no time to see how her smile starts with the eyes and spreads to her lips. In the end, the poet repeats the opening lines to stress the central idea of the poem. The Poet says that our life is useless if it is full of worries. It is worthless if we have no time to enjoy the beauties of nature.

Question-Answer (Short Type)

Q.1. What is the impact of worry on our life?

Ans.: The impact of worry on our life is very bad. The Poet says that the life full of worries is of no use. It is totally worthless. Worry steals away all our joys of life. A worried person can never enjoy life fully. The Poet says that a worried person has no time to stand and look at the beauties of nature.

Q.2. How can we see stars in the daylight?

Ans. We can see the stars in the daylight by looking into the water of the clear streams. It is the nature of water that it reflects light. The sun rays are also reflected when they fall on the waves of water in streams. The movement of waves breaks the rays of the sun into a starry pattern as they fall on the waves of freshwater. This lively scene of light falling on the waves of water looks as if the stars are twinkling in the sky.
Thus we can see the stars in the daylight by spending some time in the company of nature.

Q.3. Describe the smile of the dancing girl.

Ans.: With the description of the beauty of dancing girl the poet also describes the quality of her smile. The Poet says that the movement in the smile of the dancing girl is very slow. It starts with her beautiful eyes. From eyes, it spreads slowly to her lips. This slow movement of the smile makes it more expressive and charming and also enhances the beauty of the dancing girl.

Q.4. What exactly does the phrase ‘No time to stand and stare’ mean?

Ans.: The Poet says that modern life is full of hurries and worries. Modern man has no leisure. He has no time to stand and look at the beauties of nature. The modern man runs after material things. In pursuit of material things, he to sacrifice the little joys of life. He is so busy that he has no time left for himself. He misses all the beautiful objects of nature like streams, forest, shining stars and smiling faces. The Poet says that such life, in which we have no time to enjoy looking at all these beautiful natural objects, is useless.

Question-Answer (Essay Type)

Q.1. Sum up in your own words the philosophy of life outlined in the poem ‘Leisure’.

Ans.: ‘Leisure’ is a highly philosophical poem written by W.H. Davies. The poem is titled ‘Leisure’ which means a time of rest, a time in which we are free from all kinds of hurry and worry. The title itself indicates the philosophy of life summed up in the poem.

The Poet condemns the modern way of living. He says that modern man is busy all the time. In the pursuit of material things, he forgets every other thing. The Poet says that modern life is worthless. It is of no use because it is full of hurry and worry.

Nature is a beautiful gift of God to us. But modern man is busy all the time and has no time left to enjoy and appreciate the beauties of nature. The Poet says that modern man looks worried all the time. Worry is just like a worm that keeps gnawing the spirit of a person and won’t allow a person to enjoy life. Our life is useless if we have no time if it is full of worries and we have no time to stand and look at nature. The Poet says that modern man has become too materialistic. He runs all the time after material things.

The Poet says that the life of animals is better than human lives. They have time to enjoy the company of nature. But modern man misses all these little joys. He has no time to stand under the deep shadow of trees. He has no time to look at how squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

He has no time to look at streams in the broad daylight. He has no time to look at the beautiful girl and her smile. The poet stresses the central idea of the poem by repeating the opening lines. He says that our life is meaningless if we have lost our sense of beauty of nature and joy.

Q.2. What kind of beauty of nature is described in the poem?

Ans.: By beauty of nature, the poet means the beauty of natural objects. In this poem, the poet gives a detail description of beautiful natural objects. The poet says that nature is a gift of God to us. We should feel and appreciate the beauty of nature. The Poet says that it is a poor life if it is full of worries and if we have no time to stand and look at the beauties of natural objects. The Poet describes in detail the beautiful natural objects. He says that the trees in the forest are very beautiful. Their shadow is cool and deep but we have no time to stand under the shadow of trees. The Poet further says that an animal has a lot of time to enjoy the company of nature. The Poet tells us about dark and lovely woods. He talks of squirrels hiding their nuts in the grass.

The Poet says that streams look very beautiful in the daylight. He says that if we want to see stars in the daylight we can see them by looking at the clear waters of the streams. As the sun rays fall on the waves of water in the streams, the movement of waves breaks this light into starry patterns. This scene looks as if stars are twinkling in the sky. The Poet personifies beauty as a dancing girl with smiling eyes. He asks us to watch her feet and see how she dances. He also tells us about the beauty of her smile. He says that the movements of her smile are very slow and beautiful. He says that the smile of the dancing girl starts with her bright eyes and spreads slowly to her lips. This slow movement makes her smile more expressive and charming.

All these are the beauties of nature but the modern man has no time to enjoy all these joys. The Poet expresses his deep dissatisfaction over modern man’s indifference and insensitiveness in responding to the beauties of nature. Poet says that our life is meaningless if we have lost our sense of beauty of nature.

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