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  • Writer's pictureKarl Walker-Finch

A poor life this

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 and 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.

W H Davies - Leisure

This poem really resonates with me. I love being a dentist, caring for my patients, and I’ve found it very easy to completely immerse myself in my work and never lift my head. I’ve done that, a few years ago now, and it wasn’t pretty. It’s a fast track to letting a passion fizzle out.

Now, I love taking the time to lift my head and absorb the wonderful world around me. The burning orange sunrise a little later every morning or the sharp cold drizzle that snaps me to attention as I step out to my car. The hypnotic drumming of the rain on the car roof and savouring the first sip of Yorkshire tea as it pirouettes around my tongue.

Davies, the Welsh poet who savoured nearly half his life, wandering as a “super-tramp” (yes, the band named themselves after him), in the 19th century clearly knew a thing or two about mindfulness long before its 21st century renaissance.

Taking the time to stand and stare grounds me, it reminds me that I’m just one tiny blip in an incomprehensibly vast universe. It gives me perspective and a renewed verve to make a difference where I can in my own small way.

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