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ACROSS THE BAY By Donald Davie Analyzed by Jasper Flint.

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1 ACROSS THE BAY By Donald Davie Analyzed by Jasper Flint

2 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.

3 DONALD DAVIE ( ) Donald Davie entered the world on 17 th of July, 1922 in Yorkshire, England. He served in the Royal Navy in northern Russia during World War II, which broke up his education at St. Catherine’s College in Cambridge. Following the war, he received his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees. He taught at the University of Essex, Stanford University, and Vanderbilt University until he retired in He has a unique style incorporating both pre-modernist and modernist techniques in his poems. His poems were awarded a position in the Oxford Book of Contemporary Verse.

4 Organization The poem, “Across the Bay” is organized into three stanzas, each with four lines, for a total of twelve lines. In each stanza, the first line is long, the second short and the third and fourth being halfway between them.

5 Imagery “The beach so-called was a blinding splinter of limestone” “The venomous soft jelly” The connection might be to the beautiful yet painful loneliness that is ailing him. The connection might be to how his affliction seems insubstantial, but is very excruciating nonetheless.

6 Imagery “A quarry outraged by hulls.” “…setting for one of our murderous scenes” The connection is that the speaker has dissimilar feelings to what he thinks everyone else is experiencing. The connection is that the speaker feels that his loneliness is killing him.

7 Poetic/Literary Terms Repetition-The phrase “missing them” occurs twice in the poem. It is repeated, because it helps us to understand that the speaker does not mind his unusualness. Metaphor-The metaphors that appear in the poem are comparing a beach to a blinding splinter of limestone, a beach to a quarry with hulls, and the world to something soft. The poet used the metaphor of a beach to a blinding splinter of limestone to explain to us how bright the sunlight reflecting of the beach. The speaker compared a beach to a quarry with hulls to show how wrong it was that the birds were not there. 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. Personification- A quarry is personified by being “outraged” by hulls. Personification was used to show how wrong things were, because ship’s hulls are not found in quarries, as quarries are virtually always landlocked.

8 Poetic/Literary Terms Rhyme- There is one type of end rhyme found in the poem. It is found in the first stanza. 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. Orange=Rhyme

9 Literal Meaning The literal meaning of the poem is that the speaker is on a beach, and he or she does not like it. The speaker talks about the blinding sand on the beach, and all the washed up ships on it, which obviously led me to conclude that the speaker was on a beach. Later on in the poem, he or she talked about the water, which again is related to the beach. Near the end of the poem, the speaker talks about “the venomous soft jelly”, which conjures up the image of a jellyfish, again a quintessential part of a beach. This however, is an extremely superficial meaning of the poem, as I will cover on the next slide.

10 Figurative Meaning The figurative meaning of the poem is the deep, hurtful, and un- quotidian emptiness and loneliness that the speaker feels, hurting “where it hurts the most”. The speaker uses metaphors, comparing his or her pain to being stung by an egregious jellyfish, being hurt in the undersides, and the pain that one feels upon being blinded by a brilliant “splinter of limestone” with the light being reflected off of it. However much the pain hurts, the speaker does appreciate the beauty of what is hurting him, even “taking pleasure in that”. The speaker, being alone, has time to contemplate, and in the last line of the poem, he realizes that everything is not we think it is, by saying “We could stand the world if it were hard all over.”

11 Author’s Purpose The author’s purpose is to explain to us about the loneliness he experience, and how it changed his perceptions of the world, shattering his assumptions. At first, he experienced being alone as beautiful, but as time passed, he felt his condition more sharply, and began to miss people.

12 Theme The theme of this poem is that being alone can challenge our assumptions and perceptions of the world.

13 REFERENCES/SOURCES


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