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My most favourite poems is ‘The Listeners’ by Walter de la Mare. I have loved it since I was very young, one of its themes being opportunity lost.

‘Tell them I came, and no-one answered

That I kept my word, he said…”

How often are we rushing so much that it is only when we lose what we treasure so much, that we realise we had not treasured it at all?

One of the other poems that has always inspired me, that I hear myself quote quite often, is the poem ‘Leisure’ by W H Davies.

‘What is this life, if full of care

We have no time to stand and stare?’

(If you would like to read it then I have added it to the bottom of this post.)

I also read a post today about social media, and how people take it literally, making them feel anxious and inadequate. In it the writer reflected on how years ago people had time for quiet contemplation, time to think without the bombardment of the world attacking them all the time. In fact years ago (many) when I was at school, we had a library session every week to just sit and read in silence. At the time I hated it, now I would embrace it!

All of this got me thinking and I realised that when I started to ‘plan’ in my diary/planner for this year I had not given myself any time to ‘stop and stare’. No time out, to just play with my puppies, even though I cherish every day because I know their lives are too short, and I should treasure every moment.

I also know that when I was ill that was all I was ‘allowed’ to do was stop and relax, because my brain had become totally overloaded, and I had lost the ability to stop thinking!

The wonderful Deepak Chopra tells us to set aside a little time each day to experience silence, and contemplation at the very beginning of ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’.

So I have crossed out my day chocked full of things to do, and I have written in between my jobs and aspirations, ‘play with dogs’, take dogs for a walk, sit in silence, and I have given myself ‘space’ each day.

Do you?


WH Davies – Leisure

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.

Off By Heart

bbc.co.uk/schools/teachers/offbyheart BBC©2008