Derbyshire Turf

by Donald Davie

Donald Davie

That, true to the contours which round it
Out and lie close,
The best beauty is barbarous, grounded
On foreign bodies,
Flush to their angles, ungainly,
Pawkily true -
Derbyshire turf, you tried vainly
To point such a moral
When we, in our warmly remembered
Youth, from the old
Armstrong Siddeley tourer descended
Shouting upon you.

Then as now it was just where the boulder
Lay scantily buried,
Or the gritstone poked up a shoulder,
You sported your streaks
Of a specially sumptuous darkened
Lush olive green
Yet in those days none of us hearkened
To this intimation
That where most intriguingly mounded
Abrupt in its curves,
Beauty is richest and rounded
Home on the truth.

Very well. Still we should wonder
At farmers who loaded
Wagons with stones to lay under
The grass of their pastures.
Much the same is the poet who prizing
The shape of the truth
Studies to find some surprising
Eccentric perception
To validate memory. Boys
Are willing to guess
At the rock which lies under their joy's

Collected Poems

Last updated March 09, 2023