Across the Bay

By Donald Davie


Donald Davie was a man born in the United Kingdom in 1922. Davie is commonly known for being part of the English movement of poems. He started his education in grammar school and then later on went to college in Cambridge but did not graduate immediately due to the war and he was stationed in arctic Russia. Upon his return he received his B.A, M.A, and Ph.D. Later on Davie taught at Essex, Stanford, and Vanderbilt. He wrote many books while he was teaching and after retirement and later passed away on his birthday (September 18) in 1995 at the age of 73.


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


A quarry outraged by hulls

We took pleasure in that: the emptiness, the


Of the light, the silence, and the waters stillness

But this was the setting for one of our murderous


This hurt, and goes on hurting:

The venomous soft jelly, the undersides.

We could stand the world if it were hard all over

Meaning behind poem/reaction

This poem started out so nice with pleasant imagery, and then it strikes you with fear as it talks about the " murderous scene" in stanza 3. This poem uses great imagery details and many other things.i think there are many different meanings to this poem, but the line that stuck out to me the most was " the venemous soft jelly" the undersides". I think this line is comparing the hurt to venemous jelly in the same way you try to avoid it, and when he talks about the world being hard all over, I think he is referring to the world being pain free.
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Picture #1

This picture reminds me much of the imagery in the poem because of how calm the water is and how quiet it looks. Also when he talks about the limestone I think of an island because most islands have a limestone outline


I think that his poem is actually a very sad poem that actually ends up turning into a murderous scene. I think that this poem is sad because he talks about not missing anything and how he wishes the whole world was hard all over
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Video 1

This takes you to a kid in the poetry out loud last year reading across the bay, I personally think he did a great job.
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Photo 2

This photo also reminds me of the poem because of the calm nature of the picture and there is not anything in sight which makes me think emptiness