A queer thing about those waters: there are no

Birds there, or hardly any.

I did not miss them, I do not remember

Missing them, or thinking it uncanny.


The beach so-called was a blinding splinter of limestone,

A quarry outraged by hulls.

We took pleasure in that: the emptiness, the hardness

Of the light, the silence, and the water’s stillness.


But this was the setting for one of our murderous scenes.

This hurt, and goes on hurting:

The venomous soft jelly, the undersides.

We could stand the world if it were hard all over.

  • Donald Davie, "Across the Bay" from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1985 by Donald Davie.  Reprinted by permission of Carcanet Press, Ltd.

  • Source: Selected Poems (Carcanet Press Ltd, 1985)

Poet Bio

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"I do Poetry Out Loud because the everyday me is very shy and easily stumbles over words, mangling meaning and botching simple conversations. Yet, when I recite poetry it is an opportunity for me to become someone else––an embodiment of the poem. Slowly, step by step, I think Poetry Out Loud is helping me to become a braver, more confident person, even if I still tremble when I get on stage."
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2016 ME POL Champion