Peter Davison

P
Peter Davison
At Sixty
I have pried up, brushed off the self in me
that hugged secrets—the griever, the night walker,
the peeping-tom who promised to reform,
thumbing through porn all day. Acknowledge all
his lapses, his intensity. Never fault him for feeling:
fault him for what he endangered: creeping into
beds so sweet that he could not recall the breathing.
He bubbled promises to keep his lovers
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New Yor I
New Yor I! Graveyard bristling with monuments
and receptions for business purposes!
Has my right hand lost its cunning?
It can't remember how to spell your name:
unless I scowl, my keyboard won't offer
the K: it throws up I instead.

I was actually born on your streets,
Lexington at 76th. So was my mother.
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Under the Roof of Memory
(In Memory of Jane Davison) 1. Pleas

Please help us keep your memory alive.
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The Unfrocked Governess
(For Elizabeth Bishop)
Round of face, with dimpled chin and cheeks
framed by her plumage of white hair,
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The Face in the Field
The meadow yielded thirteen bales an acre.
“Was that a record?” I asked one of the experts.
“It must have been a record. When was the last time
you manured that meadow? Eighteen eighty-one?”
Yet it is beautiful, whether mowed or not,
After its saddest harvest, stubble bristled
sparsely, yet the stalks stood up like Christians.
Now that the second crop is coming in,
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Opening Up
Weekend: a country custom, a century old,
English in origin, secular, elite,
depended on railway schedules for its ritual:
breakfast in silver warmers, tweeds till tea,
tennis or crocquet when there was no hunting,
dress for dinner, billiards after port,
later, adultery in upstairs bedrooms.

Now as the car turns willingly off asphalt
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Peaches
A mouthful of language to swallow:
stretches of beach, sweet clinches,
breaches in walls, pleached branches;
britches hauled over haunches;
bunched leeches, wrenched teachers.
What English can do: ransack
the warmth that chuckles beneath
fuzzed surfaces, smooth velvet
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