A Spring Song

By Donald Davie 1922–1995 Donald Davie

“stooped to truth and moralized his song”

Spring pricks a little. I get out the maps.
Time to demoralize my song, high time.
Vernal a little. Primavera. First
Green, first truth and last.
High time, high time.
 
A high old time we had of it last summer?
I overstate. But getting out the maps…
Look! Up the valley of the Brenne,
Louise de la Vallière… Syntax collapses.
High time for that, high time.
 
To Château-Renault, the tannery town whose marquis
Rooke and James Butler whipped in Vigo Bay
Or so the song says, an amoral song
Like Ronsard’s where we go today
Perhaps, perhaps tomorrow.
 
Tomorrow and tomorrow and… Get well!
Philip’s black-sailed familiar, avaunt
Or some word as ridiculous, the whole
Diction kit begins to fall apart.
High time it did, high time.
 
High time and a long time yet, my love!
Get out that blessed map.
Ageing, you take your glasses off to read it.
Stooping to truth, we potter to Montoire.
High time, my love. High time and a long time yet.

Donald Davie, "A Spring Song" from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1985 by Donald Davie.  Reprinted by permission of Carcanet Press, Ltd.

Source: Selected Poems (Carcanet Press Ltd, 1985)

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Poet Donald Davie 1922–1995

Subjects Living, Growing Old, Marriage & Companionship, Love, Activities, Travels & Journeys

Poetic Terms Refrain

Biography

Donald Davie was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, to George Clarke and Alice Sugden Davie, received his early education at Barnsley Holgate Grammar School, and spent his boyhood in “the industrially ravaged landscape,” as he called it, of the West Riding. As a Northerner, he has said that in literature he grew to like “the spare and lean.” From his mother, who had a liking for poetry and knew, according to Davie, “the greater part, . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, Marriage & Companionship, Love, Activities, Travels & Journeys

Poetic Terms Refrain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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