Leisure Poem Quotes

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i am with the roots of flowers entwined, entombed sending up my passionate blossoms as a flight of rockets and argument; wine churls my throat, above me feet walk upon my brain, monkies fall from the sky clutching photographs of the planets, but i seek only music and the leisure of my pain
Charles Bukowski (The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems, 1946-1966)
I seem to grow more acutely conscious of the swift passage of time as I grow older. When I was small, days and hours were long and spacious, and there was play and acres of leisure, and many children's books to read. I remember that as I was writing a poem on "Snow" when I was eight. I said aloud, "I wish I could have the ability to write down the feelings I have now while I'm still little, because when I grow up I will know how to write, but I will have forgotten what being little feels like." And so it is that childlike sensitivity to new experiences and sensations seems to diminish in an inverse proportion to growth of technical ability. As we become polished, so do we become hardened and guilty of accepting eating, sleeping, seeing, and hearing too easily and lazily, without question. We become blunt and callous and blissfully passive as each day adds another drop to the stagnant well of our years.
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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.
W.H. Davies (Common Joys and Other Poems)
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 if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. - Leisure
W.H. Davies (Common Joys and Other Poems)
To stand up straight and tread the turning mill, To lie flat and know nothing and be still, Are the two trades of man; and which is worse I know not, but I know that both are ill.
A.E. Housman (More Poems)
Dearest creature in creation, Study English pronunciation. I will teach you in my verse Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse. I will keep you, Suzy, busy, Make your head with heat grow dizzy. Tear in eye, your dress will tear. So shall I! Oh hear my prayer. Just compare heart, beard, and heard, Dies and diet, lord and word, Sword and sward, retain and Britain. (Mind the latter, how it’s written.) Now I surely will not plague you With such words as plaque and ague. But be careful how you speak: Say break and steak, but bleak and streak; Cloven, oven, how and low, Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe. Hear me say, devoid of trickery, Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore, Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles, Exiles, similes, and reviles; Scholar, vicar, and cigar, Solar, mica, war and far; One, anemone, Balmoral, Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel; Gertrude, German, wind and mind, Scene, Melpomene, mankind. Billet does not rhyme with ballet, Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet. Blood and flood are not like food, Nor is mould like should and would. Viscous, viscount, load and broad, Toward, to forward, to reward. And your pronunciation’s OK When you correctly say croquet, Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve, Friend and fiend, alive and live. Ivy, privy, famous; clamour And enamour rhyme with hammer. River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb, Doll and roll and some and home. Stranger does not rhyme with anger, Neither does devour with clangour. Souls but foul, haunt but aunt, Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant, Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger, And then singer, ginger, linger, Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge, Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age. Query does not rhyme with very, Nor does fury sound like bury. Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth. Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath. Though the differences seem little, We say actual but victual. Refer does not rhyme with deafer. Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer. Mint, pint, senate and sedate; Dull, bull, and George ate late. Scenic, Arabic, Pacific, Science, conscience, scientific. Liberty, library, heave and heaven, Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven. We say hallowed, but allowed, People, leopard, towed, but vowed. Mark the differences, moreover, Between mover, cover, clover; Leeches, breeches, wise, precise, Chalice, but police and lice; Camel, constable, unstable, Principle, disciple, label. Petal, panel, and canal, Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal. Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair, Senator, spectator, mayor. Tour, but our and succour, four. Gas, alas, and Arkansas. Sea, idea, Korea, area, Psalm, Maria, but malaria. Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean. Doctrine, turpentine, marine. Compare alien with Italian, Dandelion and battalion. Sally with ally, yea, ye, Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key. Say aver, but ever, fever, Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver. Heron, granary, canary. Crevice and device and aerie. Face, but preface, not efface. Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass. Large, but target, gin, give, verging, Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging. Ear, but earn and wear and tear Do not rhyme with here but ere. Seven is right, but so is even, Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen, Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk, Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work. Pronunciation (think of Psyche!) Is a paling stout and spikey? Won’t it make you lose your wits, Writing groats and saying grits? It’s a dark abyss or tunnel: Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale, Islington and Isle of Wight, Housewife, verdict and indict. Finally, which rhymes with enough, Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough? Hiccough has the sound of cup. My advice is to give up!!!
Gerard Nolst Trenité (Drop your Foreign Accent)
For such a career I lacked both endurance and inclination: the stress of ambition left me cold, while the Muse, the creative spirit, was forever urging on me that haven of leisure to which I'd always leaned. The poets of those days I cultivated and cherished: for me, bards were so many gods.
Ovid (The Poems of Exile: Tristia and the Black Sea Letters)
Habitual excuses for inactivity indicates little or no interest in what one ought to have done.
Itohan Eghide (The Book of Maxims, Poems and Anecdotes)
Hate Poem I hate you truly. Truly I do. Everything about me hates everything about you. The flick of my wrist hates you. The way I hold my pencil hates you. The sound made by my tiniest bones were they trapped in the jaws of a moray eel hates you. Each corpuscle singing in its capillary hates you. Look out! Fore! I hate you. The blue-green jewel of sock lint I’m digging from under by third toenail, left foot, hates you. The history of this keychain hates you. My sigh in the background as you explain relational databases hates you. The goldfish of my genius hates you. My aorta hates you. Also my ancestors. A closed window is both a closed window and an obvious symbol of how I hate you. My voice curt as a hairshirt: hate. My hesitation when you invite me for a drive: hate. My pleasant “good morning”: hate. You know how when I’m sleepy I nuzzle my head under your arm? Hate. The whites of my target-eyes articulate hate. My wit practices it. My breasts relaxing in their holster from morning to night hate you. Layers of hate, a parfait. Hours after our latest row, brandishing the sharp glee of hate, I dissect you cell by cell, so that I might hate each one individually and at leisure. My lungs, duplicitous twins, expand with the utter validity of my hate, which can never have enough of you, Breathlessly, like two idealists in a broken submarine.
Julie Sheehan
And so I told him how living in Japan would give him a leisure no mere tourist has, to know the rhythms of the place, a land of tiny poems.
Donna George Storey (Amorous Woman)
I ask for a moment's indulgence to sit by thy side. The works that I have in hand I will finish afterwards. Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite, and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil. Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove. A Moments Indulgence Now it is time to sit quite, face to face with thee, and to sing dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure.
Rabindranath Tagore (Poems)
Beauty is a hard thing. Beauty is a mean story. Beauty is slender girls who die young, fine-featured delicate creatures about whom men write poems. Beauty, my first girlfriend said to me, is that inner quality often associated with great amounts of leisure time. And I loved her for that.
Dorothy Allison (Two or Three Things I Know for Sure)
We claim no glory. If the tempest rolls About us we have fear, and then Having so small a stake grow bold again. We know not definitely even this But 'cause some vague half knowing half doth miss Our consciousness and leaves us feeling That somehow all is well, that sober, reeling From the last carouse, or in what measure Of so called right or so damned wrong our leisure Runs out uncounted sand beneath the sun, That, spite your carping, still the thing is done With some deep sanction, that, we know not how, Sans thought gives us this feeling; you allow That this not need we know our every thought Or see the work shop where each mask is wrought Wherefrom we view the world of box and pit, Careless of wear, just so the mask shall fit And serve our jape's turn for a night or two.
Ezra Pound (Personæ: The Shorter Poems)
I seem to grow more acutely conscious of the swift passage of time as I grow older. When I was small, days and hours were long and spacious, and there was play and acres of leisure, and many children's books to read. I remember that as I was writing a poem on "Snow" when I was eight. I said aloud, "I wish I could have the ability to write down the feelings I have now while I'm still little, because when I grow up I will know how to write, but I will have forgotten what being little feels like." And so it is that childlike sensitivity to new experiences and sensations seems to diminish in an inverse proportion to the growth of technical ability. As we become polished, so do we become hardened and guilty of accepting eating, sleeping, seeing, and hearing too easily and lazily, without question. We become blunt and callous and blissfully passive as each day adds another drop to the stagnant well of our years.
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
Because I could not stop for Death" (479) Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me – The Carriage held but just Ourselves – And Immortality. We slowly drove – He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility – We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess – in the Ring – We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain – We passed the Setting Sun – Or rather – He passed Us – The Dews drew quivering and Chill – For only Gossamer, my Gown – My Tippet – only Tulle – We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground – The Roof was scarcely visible – The Cornice – in the Ground – Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity –
Emily Dickinson (The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson)
TO SLEEP A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by,   One after one; the sound of rain, and bees   Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,   Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;   I’ve thought of all by turns; and still I lie   Sleepless; and soon the small birds’ melodies   Must hear, first utter’d from my orchard trees;   And the first Cuckoo’s melancholy cry.   Even thus last night, and two nights more, I lay,   And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth:   So do not let me wear to night away:   Without Thee what is all the morning’s wealth?   Come, blessed barrier betwixt day and day,   Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!
William Wordsworth (The Complete Works of William Wordsworth: The Prelude, Lyrical Ballads, Poems Written In Youth, The Excursion and More)
Prefatory Poem All in the golden afternoon Full leisurely we glide; For both our oars, with little skill, By little arms are plied, While little hands make vain pretence Our wanderings to guide. Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour, Beneath such dreamy weather, To beg a tale of breath too weak To stir the tiniest feather! Yet what can one poor voice avail Against three tongues together? Imperious Prima flashes forth Her edict “to begin it”; In gentler tones Secunda hopes “There will be nonsense in it!” While Tertia interrupts the tale Not more than once a minute. Anon, to sudden silence won, In fancy they pursue The dream-child moving through a land Of wonders wild and new, In friendly chat with bird or beast— And half believe it true. And ever, as the story drained The wells of fancy dry, And faintly strove that weary one To put the subject by, “The rest next time—” “It is next time!” The happy voices cry. Thus grew the tale of Wonderland: Thus slowly, one by one, Its quaint events were hammered out— And now the tale is done, And home we steer, a merry crew, Beneath the setting sun. Alice! A childish story take, And, with a gentle hand, Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined In Memory’s mystic band, Like pilgrim’s wither’d wreath of flowers Pluck’d in a far-off land.
Lewis Carroll (The Complete Alice in Wonderland)
A slave, Marcus Cato said, should be working when he is not sleeping. It does not matter whether his work in itself is good in itself—for slaves, at least. This sentiment still survives, and it has piled up mountains of useless drudgery. I believe that this instinct to perpetuate useless work is, at bottom, simply fear of the mob. The mob (the thought runs) are such low animals that they would be dangerous if they had leisure; it is safer to keep them too busy to think. A rich man who happens to be intellectually honest, if he is questioned about the improvement of working conditions, usually says something like this: "We know that poverty is unpleasant; in fact, since it is so remote, we rather enjoy harrowing ourselves with the thought of its unpleasantness. But don’t expect us to do anything about it. We are sorry fort you lower classes, just as we are sorry for a cat with the mange, of your condition. We feel that you are much safer as you are. The present state of affairs suits us, and we are not going to take the risk of setting you free, even by an extra hour a day. So, dear brothers, since evidently you must sweat to pay for our trips to Italy, sweat and be damned to you.” This is particularly the attitude of intelligent, cultivated people; one can read the substance if it in a hundred essays. Very few cultivated people have less than (say) four hundred pounds a year, and naturally they side with the rich, because they imagine that any liberty conceded to the poor is a threat to their own liberty. foreseeing some dismal Marxian Utopia as the alternative, the educated man prefers to keep things as they are. Possibly he does not like his fellow-rich very much, but he supposes that even the vulgarest of them are less inimical to his pleasures, more his kind of people, than the poor, and that he had better stand by them. It is this fear of a supposedly dangerous mob that makes nearly all intelligent people conservative in their opinions. Fear of the mob is a superstitious fear. It is based on the idea that there is some mysterious, fundamental difference between rich and poor, as though they were two different races, like negroes and white men. But in reality there is no such difference. The mass of the rich and the poor are differentiated by their incomes and nothings else, and the average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit. Change places, and handy dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief? Everyone who has mixed on equal terms with the poor knows this quite well. But the trouble is that intelligent, cultivated people, the very people who might be expected to have liberal opinions, never do mix with the poor. For what do the majority of educated people know about poverty? In my copy of Villon’s poems the editor has actually thought it necessary to explain the line “Ne pain ne voyent qu'aux fenestres” by a footnote; so remote is even hunger from the educated man’s experience. From this ignorance a superstitious fear of the mob results quite naturally. The educated man pictures a horde of submen, wanting only a day’s liberty to loot his house, burn his books, and set him to work minding a machine or sweeping out a lavatory. “Anything,” he thinks, “any injustice, sooner than let that mob loose.
George Orwell (Down and Out in Paris and London)
What happened? It took Gibbon six volumes to describe the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, so I shan’t embark on that. But thinking about this almost incredible episode does tell one something about the nature of civilisation. It shows that however complex and solid it seems, it is actually quite fragile. It can be destroyed. What are its enemies? Well, first of all fear – fear of war, fear of invasion, fear of plague and famine, that make it simply not worthwhile constructing things, or planting trees or even planning next year’s crops. And fear of the supernatural, which means that you daren’t question anything or change anything. The late antique world was full of meaningless rituals, mystery religions, that destroyed self-confidence. And then exhaustion, the feeling of hopelessness which can overtake people even with a high degree of material prosperity. There is a poem by the modern Greek poet, Cavafy, in which he imagines the people of an antique town like Alexandria waiting every day for the barbarians to come and sack the city. Finally the barbarians move off somewhere else and the city is saved; but the people are disappointed – it would have been better than nothing. Of course, civilisation requires a modicum of material prosperity – enough to provide a little leisure. But, far more, it requires confidence – confidence in the society in which one lives, belief in its philosophy, belief in its laws, and confidence in one’s own mental powers. The way in which the stones of the Pont du Gard are laid is not only a triumph of technical skill, but shows a vigorous belief in law and discipline. Vigour, energy, vitality: all the great civilisations – or civilising epochs – have had a weight of energy behind them. People sometimes think that civilisation consists in fine sensibilities and good conversation and all that. These can be among the agreeable results of civilisation, but they are not what make a civilisation, and a society can have these amenities and yet be dead and rigid. So if one asks why the civilisation of Greece and Rome collapsed, the real answer is that it was exhausted.
Kenneth Clark (Civilisation)
To the Reader" As you read, a white bear leisurely pees, dyeing the snow saffron, and as you read, many gods lie among lianas: eyes of obsidian are watching the generations of leaves, and as you read the sea is turning its dark pages, turning its dark pages.
Denise Levertov (Poems, 1960-1967)
When he had ate his fill, and proceeded from the urgent first cup and necessary second to the voluntary third which might be toyed with at leisure, without any particular outcry seeming to suggest he should be on his guard, he leant back, spread the city’s news before him, and, by glances between the items, took a longer survey of the room. Session of the Common Council. Vinegars, Malts, and Spirituous Liquors, Available on Best Terms. Had he been on familiar ground, he would have been able to tell at a glance what particular group of citizens in the great empire of coffee this house aspired to serve: whether it was the place for poetry or gluttony, philosophy or marine insurance, the Indies trade or the meat-porters’ burial club. Ships Landing. Ships Departed. Long Island Estate of Mr De Kyper, with Standing Timber, to be Sold at Auction. But the prints on the yellowed walls were a mixture. Some maps, some satires, some ballads, some bawdy, alongside the inevitable picture of the King: pop-eyed George reigning over a lukewarm graphical gruel, neither one thing nor t’other. Albany Letter, Relating to the Behaviour of the Mohawks. Sermon, Upon the Dedication of the Monument to the Late Revd. Vesey. Leases to be Let: Bouwerij, Out Ward, Environs of Rutgers’ Farm. And the company? River Cargos Landed. Escaped Negro Wench: Reward Offered. – All he could glean was an impression generally businesslike, perhaps intersown with law. Dramatic Rendition of the Classics, to be Performed by the Celebrated Mrs Tomlinson. Poem, ‘Hail Liberty, Sweet Succor of a Briton’s Breast’, Offered by ‘Urbanus’ on the Occasion of His Majesty’s Birthday. Over there there were maps on the table, and a contract a-signing; and a ring of men in merchants’ buff-and-grey quizzing one in advocate’s black-and-bands. But some of the clients had the wind-scoured countenance of mariners, and some were boys joshing one another. Proceedings of the Court of Judicature of the Province of New-York. Poor Law Assessment. Carriage Rates. Principal Goods at Mart, Prices Current. Here he pulled out a printed paper of his own from an inner pocket, and made comparison of certain figures, running his left and right forefingers down the columns together. Telescopes and Spy-Glasses Ground. Regimental Orders. Dinner of the Hungarian Club. Perhaps there were simply too few temples here to coffee, for them to specialise as he was used.
Francis Spufford (Golden Hill)
TO SLEEP. A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by,   One after one; the sound of rain, and bees   Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,   Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;   I've thought of all by turns; and still I lie   Sleepless; and soon the small birds' melodies   Must hear, first utter'd from my orchard trees;   And the first Cuckoo's melancholy cry.   Even thus last night, and two nights more, I lay,   And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth:   So do not let me wear to night away:   Without Thee what is all the morning's wealth?   Come, blessed barrier betwixt day and day,   Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!
William Wordsworth (Poems in Two Volumes, Volume 1)
What happened? It took Gibbon six volumes to describe the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, so I shan’t embark on that. But thinking about this almost incredible episode does tell one something about the nature of civilisation. It shows that however complex and solid it seems, it is actually quite fragile. It can be destroyed. What are its enemies? Well, first of all fear – fear of war, fear of invasion, fear of plague and famine, that make it simply not worthwhile constructing things, or planting trees or even planning next year’s crops. And fear of the supernatural, which means that you daren’t question anything or change anything. The late antique world was full of meaningless rituals, mystery religions, that destroyed self-confidence. And then exhaustion, the feeling of hopelessness which can overtake people even with a high degree of material prosperity. There is a poem by the modern Greek poet, Cavafy, in which he imagines the people of an antique town like Alexandria waiting every day for the barbarians to come and sack the city. Finally the barbarians move off somewhere else and the city is saved; but the people are disappointed – it would have been better than nothing. Of course, civilisation requires a modicum of material prosperity – enough to provide a little leisure. But, far more, it requires confidence – confidence in the society in which one lives, belief in its philosophy, belief in its laws, and confidence in one’s own mental powers. The way in which the stones of the Pont du Gard are laid is not only a triumph of technical skill, but shows a vigorous belief in law and discipline. Vigour, energy, vitality: all the great civilisations – or civilising epochs – have had a weight of energy behind them. People sometimes think that civilisation consists in fine sensibilities and good conversation and all that. These can be among the agreeable results of civilisation, but they are not what make a civilisation, and a society can have these amenities and yet be dead and rigid. So
Kenneth Clark (Civilisation)
There’s a W. H. Auden poem called “Musée des Beaux Arts,” written in December 1938, just after Kristallnacht. In it is a description of a painting by Brueghel, in which the old master depicts Icarus falling from the sky while everyone else, involved in other things or simply not wanting to know, “turns away / quite leisurely from the disaster” and goes about daily tasks. I thought about that poem a lot over the next few days of the fair as I chatted about books, kept my appointments, and ate frankfurters off cardboard-thin crackers. The poem begins, “About suffering they were never wrong, / The Old Masters: how well they understood / Its human position; how it takes place / While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along.
Will Schwalbe (The End of Your Life Book Club)
Fantasmagoria by Stewart Stafford Dreams are the exploration, Of unlimited imagination, In minds so freely open, The chooser becomes chosen, To dream labour's leisure, Overflowing with hidden treasure, And seeing what we feel, The imagined becomes real. © Stewart Stafford, 2020. All rights reserved.
Stewart Stafford
At any given moment in the last few years there have been ten letters that I absolutely *must* write, thirty which I *ought* to write, and fifty which any other person in my position *would* have written. Probably I have written two. After all, when your profession is writing, you have some excuse for demanding a change of occupation in your leisure hours. No doubt if I were a coal-heaver by day, my wife would see to the fire after dinner while I wrote letters. As it is, she does the correspondence, while I gaze into the fire and think about things.
A.A. Milne (The Sunny Side: Short Stories and Poems for Proper Grown-Ups)