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The Editor Speaks: We have no TIME to stand and stare

It is the weeks leading up to Christmas and everyone is in a rush. So many things to do before we run out of TIME.

My wife was in a rush this afternoon. We had no dog biscuits for our German Shepherd mix Sugar. Sugar was getting more and more anxious for her food and was almost driving me insane when I was trying to work.

I screamed at the dog and I screamed at the wife.

Eventually, Joan (the wife), went out to just get the dog biscuits before driving into George Town to visit her sister.

She came back in a hurry, car tooting for me to come out , take the dog biscuits from the car, feed Sugar, so she could speed away. No TIME for pleasantries.

When I went to the back of the car there were groceries galore. So many I needed another pair of hands. We had, milk, bread, ice cream, juices galore, and more, most we already had in plenty, but….


“I haven’t got TIME to get them now,” was the cry and off she went.

I was running out of TIME to get iNews stories up into the drop box ready for my partner to load to the satellite, who is always pushed for TIME. However, I found TIME to rush down to the grocery store and get the dog biscuits, plus two other items we needed.

Getting there and back was also no quickie. CUC have been in the area for what seems months, doing what I have no idea, except periodically switching off the electrical supply, sometimes for hours. And they were along the road again holding up the traffic and using up our precious TIME.

What is ironic is Joan awoke this morning not with the usual song tune in her head but the first verse of a poem.

“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.”

“Leisure,” I answered her back.


“Leisure. The lines you just said were from a poem by William Henry Davies. I had to learn it when I was at school.”

At least something sinks in and remains with you. Not that I could recite anything more except there was something about sheep and cows and grass. Perhaps they sat down on their ass? No.
“Look it up,” I was ordered. “I want the words.”

And so I did and the poem has stayed with me all day. It is so fitting. The poem has been said to warn that “the frantic pace of modern life has a detrimental effect on the human spirit.”

By William Henry Davies

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 is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


I can’t add any more. No TIME.


  1. Yes! Thanks for sharing! I recall learning this poem in school as well. I remembered parts of it especially the last six lines because I thought it was quite poetic. The magic of this poem is to recite it with excitement or hear someone recite it equally so. I never contemplated the words as a young boy growing up but after reading your fun n quite interesting editorial, I focused on the words of the poem and realize that the poet / author is saying take time to smell the roses. A relatively favorite quote springs to mind: Wherever you are, be there!

    I also like poems by Robert Luis Stephenson

    • Thanks Oz. I agree with you. I never appreciated it either when I was a young student. It is, however, as applicable today as when it was written.

      And the poem has stayed with me and my wife who learned it here in the Cayman Islands when she was a young schoolgirl being taught here seventy years ago.


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