William Henry Davies

(3 July 1871 – 26 September 1940 / Monmouthshire / Wales)

The Sleepers - Poem by William Henry Davies

As I walked down the waterside
This silent morning, wet and dark;
Before the cocks in farmyards crowed,
Before the dogs began to bark;
Before the hour of five was struck
By old Westminster's mighty clock:

As I walked down the waterside
This morning, in the cold damp air,
I saw a hundred women and men
Huddled in rags and sleeping there:
These people have no work, thought I,
And long before their time they die.

That moment, on the waterside,
A lighted car came at a bound;
I looked inside, and saw a score
Of pale and weary men that frowned;
Each man sat in a huddled heap,
Carried to work while fast asleep.

Ten cars rushed down the waterside
Like lighted coffins in the dark;
With twenty dead men in each car,
That must be brought alive by work:
These people work too hard, thought I,
And long before their time they die.


Comments about The Sleepers by William Henry Davies

  • (11/26/2017 11:29:00 AM)


    ive set this and many other works of Davies, to music.Its a fantastic, terrifying poem totally neglected by
    most educationalists
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  • (3/21/2006 2:53:00 PM)


    Compassionate thought on fellow men made to work too hard for a living, and dying too young (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: car, work, women, people, dark, time, woman, dog, sleep



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Saturday, November 19, 2011


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