A Spring Song

“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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