Today, I have I believe, found a very interesting Poet, someone whose background and love of nature shows an innocence, a gentle man, someone probably not well known but should be.
W. H. DAVIES – 1870-1940
“A genuine innocent, writing odds and ends of verse about odds and ends of things,” is the way Bernard Shaw described W. H. Davies in his preface to THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A SUPER-TRAMP. William Henry Davies lived up to the characterization. He was born in a public house, incongruously called Church House, in Monmouthshire, April 20, 1870. His parents were Welsh countrymen, and the boy educated himself. He became a cattleman, a berry picker, and, as the title of his autobiography indicates, a panhandler. He came to the United States, remained there six years, rode the rails, and had his right foot cut off by a train in Canada. Returning to England in his early thirties, he supported himself by peddling and, when necessary begging.
It was not until his thirty fifth year that Davies decided to be a poet, and had his book set up in a printer’s shop with money he had, somehow, saved. As a poet, he was as fecund as he was determined. Between 1906 and the year of his death, Davies issued twenty-three volumes – five of autobiography, eighteen of verse and more than six hundred poems. His birdlike simplicities and almost mindless fluency made it difficult for the critics to separate what was good, bad, and indifferent in his blithe verse. He was called a “Welsh Herrick,” and many of his lines justified the appellation. Davies sang ingenuously and tirelessly of a fair world, of happy mornings and evenings full of pleasant reverie.
Sing out, my Soul, thy songs of joy;
Such as a happy bird will sing
Beneath a rainbow’s lovely arch
In early Spring.
Davies regarded with an air of continual surprise the objects which everyone takes for granted. His sense of wonder was unfailing. Glowworms and lovely ladies, staring sheep and the moon “with her white fleet of stars,” were observed as rapturously as though no one had noticed them before. A butterfly on a stone, or the juxtaposition of a rainbow and a cuckoo, was all Davies needed for a full life.
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.
============================================================================”Just my thoughts follow, I hope they will not annoy too much” Anna
How many of us, actually remember more than the four of six lines of this beautiful poem above, don’t we all know at least the first two lines so very familiar, and how very true the two lines are. A man that had passion, a man that was sensitive, a gentle soul, and how these men with those wonderful attributes are mocked. How lucky one would be to know and love a Man of such qualities.
Davies had superintended four constantly enlarging editions of his COLLECTED POEMS and was planning another assembly when he died at Seventy, September, 26, 1940.
Although Davies, more than any poet of the twentieth century, recalls Herrick, he was indebted to other forerunners, mostly Elizabethan. Another influence, less obvious but more integral, was that of Blake; many of Davies’s shorter lyrics are echoes, perhaps unconscious, of SONGS OF INNOCENCE. Even more direct though far less deep than his inspired source, Davies remained a charming rather than a great poet. He could not frame burning images and prophetic visions. He was content with quiet pictures and miniature panoramas, a Blake in words of one syllable.
I had Ambition, by which sin
The angels fell;
I climbed and, step by step, O Lord,
Ascended into Hell.
Returning now to peace and quiet,
And made more wise,
Let my descent and fall, O Lord,
Be into Paradise.
I hope you enjoyed the above, I really loved reading and typing it all. Taken from “A TREASURY OF GREAT POETS” English and American – Selected and Integrated by Louis Untermeyer. From the Personal Library of the late Poet, Rod McKuen.
Look in if you can, tomorrow, or even if slightly interested, always welcome. Tomorrow, I have a special Poet, and who knows maybe another, perhaps unknown, but interesting, poet as well. Take care.
Derek and Brandon Fiechter, Youtube, Thank You