Submit to ‘Beneath The Boughs’! (February)


For the next few months, we will be posting monthly poetry prompts based on our upcoming summer exhibition, ‘Beneath The Boughs’. (The exhibition will run from July 19th to September 9th 2013. Read more about the project here.)

For a chance to be involved in the exhibition, and to have your work displayed in the beautiful historic gardens of Lowther Castle, send us your poem(s) inspired by the William Henry Davies poem, ‘Leisure’ (at the bottom of the page).

Please ensure that we receive your submission(s) by the deadline of 23:59, Thursday 28th February, 2013.

For information on how to submit, as well as submission guidelines, click here.

(If you really aren’t inspired by the poem below, then you can also send us a poem inspired by one of the pictures in our insipration gallery. Remember, the same guidelines and deadline apply.)

And keep your eyes peeled. There’ll be a new prompt here in March!

LEISURE, 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 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.

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass…

I recently took this photo of a squirrel:

And it reminded me of the W H Davies poem, ‘Leisure’, which I had on my tooth box as a child. It’s a beautiful poem, all about our hurried lifestyles, and how we ought to stop and look around us sometimes. A bit like the abstract on our new business cards:

If you could cradle a minute in your palm
and not weigh its value in coins…

Take a minute now, and listen to this wonderful recording of Davies reading his own poem: