W. H. Davies
B. 1871 D. 1940
And I could see that child's one eye which seemed to laugh, and say with glee: 'what caused my death you'll never know, perhaps my mother murdered me.' - W.H. Davies - 'The Inquest'
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About W. H. Davies
The Welsh poet William Henry Davies wrote the poem ‘Leisure’, which famously begins:‘What is this life if, full of care,/We have no time to stand and stare.’
The poem’s theme is reflected in Davies’s own outdoor life, which was unconventional. Leaving Wales, he worked and begged his way across America, losing a leg in an accident when jumping from a train. He returned to England and, unfit for physical work, dedicated himself to making a living as a writer. His first collection of poems attracted influential admirers, such as George Bernard Shaw, who helped Davies publish a successful memoir, The Autobiography of a Super Tramp, which dealt with his life travelling across America.
By 1929 his popularity and literary reputation led to the award of an honorary degree from the University of Wales and, ten years later, his home town of Newport unveiled a plaque in his honour.
Books by W. H. Davies
Elkin Mathews, 1907
The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp - autobiographical
Foliage: Various Poems
Elkin Mathews, 1913
Forty New Poems
The Captive Lion and Other Poems
Yale University Press, 1921
Collected Poems, 1st Series and 2nd Series
Jonathan Cape, 1923
The Collected Poems of W. H. Davies
Jonathan Cape, 1928
Common Joys and Other Poems
Faber & Faber, 1941