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Best Famous William Henry Davies Poems

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by William Henry Davies | |

The Moon

 The moon has a face like the clock in the hall; 
She shines on thieves on the garden wall, 
On streets and fields and harbour quays, 
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.
The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse, The howling dog by the door of the house, The bat that lies in bed at noon, All love to be out by the light of the moon.
But all of the things that belong to the day Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way; And flowers and children close their eyes Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.


by William Henry Davies | |

The Sleepers

 No map traces the street
Where those two sleepers are.
We have lost track of it.
They lie as if under water In a blue, unchanging light, The French window ajar Curtained with yellow lace.
Through the narrow crack Odors of wet earth rise.
The snail leaves a silver track; Dark thickets hedge the house.
We take a backward look.
Among petals pale as death And leaves steadfast in shape They sleep on, mouth to mouth.
A white mist is going up.
The small green nostrils breathe, And they turn in their sleep.
Ousted from that warm bed We are a dream they dream.
Their eyelids keep up the shade.
No harm can come to them.
We cast our skins and slide Into another time.


by William Henry Davies | |

Money

 When I had money, money, O!
I knew no joy till I went poor;
For many a false man as a friend
Came knocking all day at my door.
Then felt I like a child that holds A trumpet that he must not blow Because a man is dead; I dared Not speak to let this false world know.
Much have I thought of life, and seen How poor men’s hearts are ever light; And how their wives do hum like bees About their work from morn till night.
So, when I hear these poor ones laugh, And see the rich ones coldly frown— Poor men, think I, need not go up So much as rich men should come down.
When I had money, money, O! My many friends proved all untrue; But now I have no money, O! My friends are real, though very few.


by William Henry Davies | |

When on a Summers Morn

 When on a summer's morn I wake, 
And open my two eyes, 
Out to the clear, born-singing rills 
My bird-like spirit flies.
To hear the Blackbird, Cuckoo, Thrush, Or any bird in song; And common leaves that hum all day Without a throat or tongue.
And when Time strikes the hour for sleep, Back in my room alone, My heart has many a sweet bird's song -- And one that's all my own.


by William Henry Davies | |

Where We Differ

 To think my thoughts are hers, 
Not one of hers is mine; 
She laughs -- while I must sigh; 
She sighs -- while I must whine.
She eats -- while I must fast; She reads -- while I am blind; She sleeps -- while I must wake; Free -- I no freedom find.
To think the world for me Contains but her alone, And that her eyes prefer Some ribbon, scarf, or stone.


by William Henry Davies | |

the moon

 when the body of a woman dissolves
within are the three feared faces

the man who dares to trace them comes
to grief - but nothing personal is meant

waves and particles transvest - vulva
breast and womb are sexless doors 

beyond whose suck a sensual light
swings life round its little finger


by William Henry Davies | |

Rich or Poor

 With thy true love I have more wealth
Than Charon's piled-up bank doth hold;
Where he makes kings lay down their crowns
And life-long misers leave their gold.
Without thy love I've no more wealth Than seen upon that other shore; That cold, bare bank he rows them to - Those kings and misers made so poor.


by William Henry Davies | |

Nell Barnes

 They lived apart for three long years, 
Bill Barnes and Nell his wife; 
He took his joy from other girls, 
She led a wicked life.
Yet ofttimes she would pass his shop, With some strange man awhile; And, looking, meet her husband's frown With her malicious smile.
Until one day, when passing there, She saw her man had gone; And when she saw the empty shop, She fell down with a moan.
And when she heard that he had gone Five thousand miles away; And that she's see his face no more, She sickened from that day.
To see his face was health and life, And when it was denied, She could not eat, and broke her heart -- It was for love she died.


by William Henry Davies | |

Days Too Short

 When primroses are out in Spring, 
And small, blue violets come between; 
When merry birds sing on boughs green, 
And rills, as soon as born, must sing; 

When butterflies will make side-leaps, 
As though escaped from Nature's hand 
Ere perfect quite; and bees will stand 
Upon their heads in fragrant deeps; 

When small clouds are so silvery white 
Each seems a broken rimmed moon-- 
When such things are, this world too soon, 
For me, doth wear the veil of night.


by William Henry Davies | |

Rich Days

 Welcome to you rich Autumn days, 
Ere comes the cold, leaf-picking wind; 
When golden stocks are seen in fields, 
All standing arm-in-arm entwined; 
And gallons of sweet cider seen 
On trees in apples red and green.
With mellow pears that cheat our teeth, Which melt that tongues may suck them in; With blue-black damsons, yellow plums, Now sweet and soft from stone to skin; And woodnuts rich, to make us go Into the loneliest lanes we know.


by William Henry Davies | |

A Plain Life

 No idle gold -- since this fine sun, my friend, 
Is no mean miser, but doth freely spend.
No prescious stones -- since these green mornings show, Without a charge, their pearls where'er I go.
No lifeless books -- since birds with their sweet tongues Will read aloud to me their happier songs.
No painted scenes -- since clouds can change their skies A hundred times a day to please my eyes.
No headstrong wine -- since, when I drink, the spring Into my eager ears will softly sing.
No surplus clothes -- since every simple beast Can teach me to be happy with the least.


by William Henry Davies | |

A Great Time

 Sweet Chance, that led my steps abroad, 
Beyond the town, where wild flowers grow -- 
A rainbow and a cuckoo, Lord, 
How rich and great the times are now! 
Know, all ye sheep 
And cows, that keep 
On staring that I stand so long 
In grass that's wet from heavy rain -- 
A rainbow and a cuckoo's song 
May never come together again; 
May never come 
This side the tomb.


by William Henry Davies | |

A Greeting

 Good morning, Life--and all 
Things glad and beautiful.
My pockets nothing hold, But he that owns the gold, The Sun, is my great friend-- His spending has no end.
Hail to the morning sky, Which bright clouds measure high; Hail to you birds whose throats Would number leaves by notes; Hail to you shady bowers, And you green field of flowers.
Hail to you women fair, That make a show so rare In cloth as white as milk-- Be't calico or silk: Good morning, Life--and all Things glad and beautiful.


by William Henry Davies | |

A Fleeting Passion

 Thou shalt not laugh, thou shalt not romp, 
Let's grimly kiss with bated breath; 
As quietly and solemnly 
As Life when it is kissing Death.
Now in the silence of the grave, My hand is squeezing that soft breast; While thou dost in such passion lie, It mocks me with its look of rest.
But when the morning comes at last, And we must part, our passions cold, You'll think of some new feather, scarf To buy with my small piece of gold; And I'll be dreaming of green lanes, Where little things with beating hearts Hold shining eyes between the leaves, Till men with horses pass, and carts.


by William Henry Davies | |

Ale

 Now do I hear thee weep and groan, 
Who hath a comrade sunk at sea? 
Then quaff thee of my good old ale, 
And it will raise him up for thee; 
Thoul't think as little of him then 
As when he moved with living men.
If thou hast hopes to move the world, And every effort it doth fail, Then to thy side call Jack and Jim, And bid them drink with thee good ale; So may the world, that would not hear, Perish in hell with all your care.
One quart of good ale, and I Feel then what life immortal is: The brain is empty of all thought, The heart is brimming o'er with bliss; Time's first child, Life, doth live; but Death, The second, hath not yet his breath.
Give me a quart of good old ale, Am I a homeless man on earth? Nay, I want not your roof and quilt, I'll lie warm at the moon's cold hearth; No grumbling ghost to grudge my bed, His grave, ha! ha! holds up my head.


by William Henry Davies | |

Aprils Charms

 When April scatters charms of primrose gold 
Among the copper leaves in thickets old, 
And singing skylarks from the meadows rise, 
To twinkle like black stars in sunny skies;

When I can hear the small woodpecker ring 
Time on a tree for all the birds that sing; 
And hear the pleasant cuckoo, loud and long -- 
The simple bird that thinks two notes a song;

When I can hear the woodland brook, that could 
Not drown a babe, with all his threatening mood; 
Upon these banks the violets make their home, 
And let a few small strawberry vlossoms come:

When I go forth on such a pleasant day, 
One breath outdoors takes all my cares away; 
It goes like heavy smoke, when flames take hold 
Of wood that's green and fill a grate with gold.


by William Henry Davies | |

Charms

 She walks as lightly as the fly 
Skates on the water in July.
To hear her moving petticoat For me is music's highest note.
Stones are not heard, when her feet pass, No more than tumps of moss or grass.
When she sits still, she's like the flower To be a butterfly next hour.
The brook laughs not more sweet, when he Trips over pebbles suddenly.
My Love, like him, can whisper low -- When he comes where green cresses grow.
She rises like the lark, that hour He goes halfway to meet a shower.
A fresher drink is in her looks Than Nature gives me, or old books.
When I in my Love's shadow sit, I do not miss the sun one bit.
When she is near, my arms can hold All that's worth having in this world.
And when I know not where she is, Nothing can come but comes amiss.


by William Henry Davies | |

All in June

 A week ago I had a fire 
To warm my feet, my hands and face; 
Cold winds, that never make a friend, 
Crept in and out of every place.
Today the fields are rich in grass, And buttercups in thousands grow; I'll show the world where I have been-- With gold-dust seen on either shoe.
Till to my garden back I come, Where bumble-bees for hours and hours Sit on their soft, fat, velvet bums, To wriggle out of hollow flowers.


by William Henry Davies | |

Come Let Us Find

 Come, let us find a cottage, love, 
That's green for half a mile around; 
To laugh at every grumbling bee, 
Whose sweetest blossom's not yet found.
Where many a bird shall sing for you, And in your garden build its nest: They'll sing for you as though their eggs Were lying in your breast, My love-- Were lying warm in your soft breast.
'Tis strange how men find time to hate, When life is all too short for love; But we, away from our own kind, A different life can live and prove.
And early on a summer's morn, As I go walking out with you, We'll help the sun with our warm breath To clear away the dew, My love, To clear away the morning dew.


by William Henry Davies | |

In May

 Yes, I will spend the livelong day 
With Nature in this month of May; 
And sit beneath the trees, and share 
My bread with birds whose homes are there; 
While cows lie down to eat, and sheep 
Stand to their necks in grass so deep; 
While birds do sing with all their might, 
As though they felt the earth in flight.
This is the hour I dreamed of, when I sat surrounded by poor men; And thought of how the Arab sat Alone at evening, gazing at The stars that bubbled in clear skies; And of young dreamers, when their eyes Enjoyed methought a precious boon In the adventures of the Moon Whose light, behind the Clouds' dark bars, Searched for her stolen flocks of stars.
When I, hemmed in by wrecks of men, Thought of some lonely cottage then Full of sweet books; and miles of sea, With passing ships, in front of me; And having, on the other hand, A flowery, green, bird-singing land.