Saturday, 6 September 2008

Common Joys

Moss and lichen on an old garden wall
Common Joys
See how those diamonds splutter and choke -
What greedy things they are for light!
That pearl, whose pulse less wildly beats,
Is far more restful to my sight.
Soon tired of all those glittering toys,
With my delight and wonder gone -
I send my thoughts, like butterflies
To dream on some old spotted stone.
So, when the Skylark sings no more,
And I have seen the graceful Swallow;
When I have heard the Blackbird too,
And many a bird in field and furrow:
Then to my Sparrow I return,
Who scolds me well for what he misses -
And thinks a common chirp at times
Pays all his debts, like children's kisses.
(W H Davies)

William Henry Davies was born in 1871 in Newport, Wales. He lived much of his younger life as an itinerant in America, later returning to England to spend many years as a tramp. He wrote the Autobiography of a Super-Tramp in 1925. Later in life he married a young woman thirty years his junior who he met while she was working as a prostitute in London - he wrote about his life at that time in Young Emma. They lived contentedly together until he died at the age of 69 in 1940.