Across The Bay

By Donald Davie

Who is Donald Davie?

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, perhaps the whole” of Francis Turner Palgrave‘s The Golden Treasury of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language (1861, 1897) by heart, he developed an early interest in verse. From the art master of Barnsley Grammar School, he learned to appreciate church architecture, an appreciation expressed in a number of his poems.
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Across The Bay

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.

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Above is a QR code for the link to the Poetry Out Loud reading of Across The Bay

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Theme and Explanation of Across The Bay

This poem is sad and dark, as it talks about how there are no birds there, and how the bay is empty and hard will nobody and nothing around it. The poem is referring to our world, and how you should not get your hopes up, for things that might not turn out the way you wanted them to. The overall theme of this poem, is to open your eyes, and see things and people for what/who they truly are. Sometimes, looks and descriptions can be deceiving.