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.

William H. Davies (1871-1940)

Born in born in England to Welsh parents, William Henry Davies came to America and is rarely remembered today only for the sake of his Autobiography of a Super-Tramp published in 1906. He was most popular in the early decades of the last century and greatly admired. Both George Bernard Shaw and Louis Untermeyer mentored his early literary career believing in his naïf style though some conjectured he was pretentious. "His is a robin-like note produced by a bird-like mind," Untermeyer remarked about his "spoiled simplicity". As an 1800’s Canadian vagabond, Davies lost his foot trying to jump on a train. Writing frequently about his drifter experiences was a real plus. He was capable enough to live off his recollections for four decades after his accident.

Days Too Short is standard fare for Davies, it is characteristically composed of warm spring rain and abundant with bees that never sting. From Songs of Joy published in 1911 the copyright for this poem has expired in the United States.


William Henry
accessed August 22, 2003

Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:

CST Approved

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