11. LEISURE (William Davies)
CONTEXT: In this poem, the poet condemns the modern life of the modern man. He says that the modern man is so absorbed in his materialistic pursuits that he ignores the natural beauty around him. He is hankering after money. That’s why, his life is poor. He must find some time to enjoy the beautiful sights of nature.
EXPLANATION: LINES 1-2: These are the opening lines of the poem. These lines indicate the basic idea of the poem. The poet says that this life is full of cares and worries. The modern man is so absorbed in his materialistic pursuits that he has no time to stand and stare at the beauty of nature that is around him. The poet concludes that the life of a modern man is worthless if he cannot enjoy the common pleasures of life.
EXPLANATION: LINES 3-4: In these lines, the poet condemns the deplorable situation of a modern man. The modern man has no time to stand beneath the trees. He has no time to see the beauty around him like sheep or cows. This beauty is so captivating and enchanting that a man can make his life delightful. But, the tragedy of man is that he has lost touch with the objects of nature and his life has become colourless and boring.
EXPLANATION: LINES 5-6: In these lines, the poet conveys the idea that the modern man is so busy in his hurly-burly life that he has no time for enjoyment. The poet says that the modern man is unfortunate because he has no time to go to the woods and see beautiful squirrels which are hiding their nuts in the grass. They amuse us with their activities. But the modern man is so busy with worldly affairs that he has no time to relish the delights which nature has provided us.
EXPLANATION: LINES 7-8 In these lines, the poet says that the modern man is unfortunate because he fails to enjoy the sight of a stream in the light of day because its clear and sparkling water reflects light glittering stars like the stars in the sky at midnight. This is a very bewitching scene but the modern man is unlucky because he is so busy in his materialistic pursuits that he ignores it and his life becomes monotonous.
EXPLANATION: LINES 9-10: In these lines, the poet has personified “Beauty” in the form of a beautiful girl who is smiling and is ready to dance. It is a fascinating sight. It may fill our hearts with pleasure and delight. It may remove any type of worry and disappointment. A man can refresh himself. But, the modern man is unfortunate because he has no time to enjoy the beautiful girl’s glances which are full of love.
Explanation: LINES 11-12: In these lines, the poet has personified “Beauty” in the form of a beautiful girl who is smiling and is ready to dance. But the modern man is unfortunate because the modern man has no time to see the enriching smile of a girl who is ready to dance. He has no time to stop for a moment to enjoy this scene because he is following a vista that has deprived him of all the pleasures of life and his life is full of miseries.
EXPLANATION: LINES 13-14: At the beginning of the poem the poet asks a question: “What is this life if we have no time to stand and stare?” He himself answers and concludes that the life of a modern man is poor. His life has become miserable. This is the price he has paid for this mechanical age. His needs and demands have put a lot of burden on his mind and body. Therefore, a man should find leisure to enjoy the beauty of nature which God has provided for us.
Q.NO.1: Who has written the poem, “Leisure?”
Answer: The poem, “Leisure” has been written by a great poet, William Henry Davies. The problems of the poor and the description of nature are favourite themes of his poetry.
Q.NO.2: What is the theme of the poem? OR Write a critical note on the poem. OR What type of delights do we miss in our rushed life? OR Why do we miss some delights around us? (GW-10, 12, LR-09, MN-10)
Answer: In this poem, the poet tells that the modern man has become money-oriented. That’s why, he misses the delights of squirrels hiding their nuts in the grass, the streams full of stars, and the beautiful smile and dancing feet of a beautiful girl. In this way, his life is worse than animals. He must find some time to spend in the company of nature.