The English countryside is covered with a network of public footpaths which make it accessible to even the most timid explorer.
No need for a map or compass, the footpaths are clearly sign posted and the paths and lanes well kept.
Sometimes though the footpaths pass by or across private land and might seem a little too close for comfort for some landowners. They might put up signs asking you to keep your dog on a lead and to make sure you close the gates to keep livestock safe.
Recently while on a country walk we crossed a field where small pygmy goats were kept in a corner which had been fenced off to protect them. They were an enchanting sight, sweet and cuddly to look at and very appealing. The owner of the goats though, didn't seem to want people to stop and admire them and had put up a sign on the gate to the field warning people not to stare at the goats.
It could sound ridiculous to warn people not to look at the goats, after all they are clearly visible to all who pass. It caused us some amusement to think of staring at them though. The word stare meaning to look fixedly at someone or something with eyes wide open. It is generally rude to stare unless perhaps you are contemplating a view.
My poem for the day is by W.H. Davies (1871 - 1940).
He seems to have had an eventful life. He was born in Monmouthshire but went to America doing what would now be called On the road.
He joined the Gold Rush to the Klondike but had an accident and lost his leg.
He returned to London poor and destitute but his poetry began to attract attention and he achieved a certain success.
In 1923 at the age of fifty-two he married a nurse half his age. I
In all this time he must have made time to stand and stare because here is his most famous poem which tells us how important he considered it to be.
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.
|No staring at the goats|
|Lots to look at here, meadows bright with buttercups, gently rolling hills, small hamlets, a lively spring sky|
|Sheep huddled under a tree near a village in a field|