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Donald Davidson: Fugitives founder was most passionate and devoted

Also a founding member of the Agrarians

  • Censored
  • Into a crock of gold he’d set some weeds,
  • Behold swart devils in the sunniest weather;
  • He would lump the saint and the courtesan together,
  • Most miserably jangling all the creeds.
  • The prurient multitude heard he was mad,
  • Yet nosed his books for some pornography.
  • The censors doubted his virginity,
  • And secretly conned the works that they forbade.
  • Reporters found this dangerous oddity
  • In rusty pantaloons, mowing the green,
  • And wondered how so dull a wretch could have seen
  • A naked Venus disturbing an alien sea.
  • He watched their backs receding down the street,
  • Raked up the grass, and suddenly had a vision
  • Of how Venus, bathing, saw with amused derision
  • Behind the bushes peeping satyrs’ feet.
  • Prie-Dieu
  • Of what sins have you made confession here,
  • Ardent Cecile? Not passion’s intimacy,
  • Or tangles of desire that mutineer
  • A bold way through your maiden ecstasy.
  • Those are not blamed...the penance not severe!
  • Pray rather, with cool-lidded conscious eyes
  • For warm juvescence of those ichored limbs,
  • For laughter checked by no repentant cries,
  • For lips unstained by pattering of hymns.
  • Men’s glances have embraced you. They are wise.
  • They have seen you, cumbent by the ruddy fire,
  • Lending your curves to cushioned wantonness,
  • Or leaping to the stroke of an earthy lyre
  • Twanged in the joy of throbbing noon’s excess
  • And cried no pause for love. You, they require.
  • Of what sins have you made confession here,
  • Ardent Cecile? The wood receives your knees;
  • The organ stirs your prayer. Now you revere
  • The God that made you beautiful among these,
  • The gnarled and ugly. Your book receives no tear.
  • Teach Me
  • Teach me, old World, your passion of slow change,
  •     Your calm of stars, watching the turn of earth,
  • Patient of man, and never thinking strange
  •     The mad red crash of each new system’s birth.
  • Teach me, for I would know your beauty’s way 
  •     That waits and changes with each changing sun,
  • No dawn so fair but promises a day
  •     Of other perfectness than men have won.
  • Teach me, old World, not as vain men have taught,
  •     —Unpatient song, nor words of hollow brass,
  • Nor men’s dismay whose powerfullest thought
  •     Is woe that they and worlds alike must pass.
  • Nothing I learn by any mortal rule;
  • Teach me, old World, I would not be man’s fool.
Donald Davidson

Donald Davidson (1883-1968) was an American poet and founding member of the Fugitives, a literary movement started in 1919-1920 in the South. Its members also included Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom and Robert Penn Warren. Perhaps the most passionate and devoted of the Fugitives, Davidson is also the least read of the group. Some critics maintain that his lack of popularity has much to do with his decision to remain “local” in his treatment of poetic subjects. Like other members of the Fugitives, Donaldson was also a founding member of the Agrarians, which overlapped with the Fugitives and, like the Fugitives, sought to bring attention to Southern culture and history while at the same time opposing the dehumanizing materialism and industrialism of 20th century America.

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  • Censored
  • Into a crock of gold he’d set some weeds,
  • Behold swart devils in the sunniest weather;
  • He would lump the saint and the courtesan together,
  • Most miserably jangling all the creeds.
  • The prurient multitude heard he was mad,
  • Yet nosed his books for some pornography.
  • The censors doubted his virginity,
  • And secretly conned the works that they forbade.
  • Reporters found this dangerous oddity
  • In rusty pantaloons, mowing the green,
  • And wondered how so dull a wretch could have seen
  • A naked Venus disturbing an alien sea.
  • He watched their backs receding down the street,
  • Raked up the grass, and suddenly had a vision
  • Of how Venus, bathing, saw with amused derision
  • Behind the bushes peeping satyrs’ feet.
  • Prie-Dieu
  • Of what sins have you made confession here,
  • Ardent Cecile? Not passion’s intimacy,
  • Or tangles of desire that mutineer
  • A bold way through your maiden ecstasy.
  • Those are not blamed...the penance not severe!
  • Pray rather, with cool-lidded conscious eyes
  • For warm juvescence of those ichored limbs,
  • For laughter checked by no repentant cries,
  • For lips unstained by pattering of hymns.
  • Men’s glances have embraced you. They are wise.
  • They have seen you, cumbent by the ruddy fire,
  • Lending your curves to cushioned wantonness,
  • Or leaping to the stroke of an earthy lyre
  • Twanged in the joy of throbbing noon’s excess
  • And cried no pause for love. You, they require.
  • Of what sins have you made confession here,
  • Ardent Cecile? The wood receives your knees;
  • The organ stirs your prayer. Now you revere
  • The God that made you beautiful among these,
  • The gnarled and ugly. Your book receives no tear.
  • Teach Me
  • Teach me, old World, your passion of slow change,
  •     Your calm of stars, watching the turn of earth,
  • Patient of man, and never thinking strange
  •     The mad red crash of each new system’s birth.
  • Teach me, for I would know your beauty’s way 
  •     That waits and changes with each changing sun,
  • No dawn so fair but promises a day
  •     Of other perfectness than men have won.
  • Teach me, old World, not as vain men have taught,
  •     —Unpatient song, nor words of hollow brass,
  • Nor men’s dismay whose powerfullest thought
  •     Is woe that they and worlds alike must pass.
  • Nothing I learn by any mortal rule;
  • Teach me, old World, I would not be man’s fool.
Donald Davidson

Donald Davidson (1883-1968) was an American poet and founding member of the Fugitives, a literary movement started in 1919-1920 in the South. Its members also included Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom and Robert Penn Warren. Perhaps the most passionate and devoted of the Fugitives, Davidson is also the least read of the group. Some critics maintain that his lack of popularity has much to do with his decision to remain “local” in his treatment of poetic subjects. Like other members of the Fugitives, Donaldson was also a founding member of the Agrarians, which overlapped with the Fugitives and, like the Fugitives, sought to bring attention to Southern culture and history while at the same time opposing the dehumanizing materialism and industrialism of 20th century America.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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