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John Davidson

Physical activity can get you going when you are immobilized. Get action in your life, and don't just talk about it. Get into the arena!

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I don't know why people are so surprised by my live performances. My approach is so simple; every song I sing, every story I tell, every move I make, must move the audience to laughter, tears or inspiration. Otherwise, why should I do it?

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Song

THE boat is chafing at our long delay,
   And we must leave too soon
The spicy sea-pinks and the inborne spray,
   The tawny sands, the moon.

Keep us, O Thetis, in our western flight!
   Watch from thy pearly throne
Our vessel, plunging deeper into night
   To reach a land unknown.

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Battle

The war of words is done;
The red-lipped cannon speak;
The battle has begun.

The web your speeches spun
Tears and blood shall streak;
The war of words is done.

Smoke enshrouds the sun;
Earth staggers at the shriek
Of battle new begun.

Poltroons and braggarts run:
Woe to the poor, the meek!
The war of words is done.

"And hope not now to shun
The doom that dogs the weak,"
Thunders every gun;

[...] Read more

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London

Athwart the sky a lowly sigh
From west to east the sweet wind carried;
The sun stood still on Primrose Hill;
His light in all the city tarried:
The clouds on viewless columns bloomed
Like smouldering lilies unconsumed.

'Oh sweetheart, see! how shadowy,
Of some occult magician's rearing,
Or swung in space of heaven's grace
Dissolving, dimly reappearing,
Afloat upon ethereal tides
St. Paul's above the city rides!'

A rumour broke through the thin smoke
Enwreathing abbey, tower, and palace,
The parks, the squares, the thoroughfares,
The million-peopled lanes and alleys,
An ever-muttering prisoned storm,
The heart of London beating warm.

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Imagination

There is a dish to hold the sea,
A brazier to contain the sun,
A compass for the galaxy,
A voice to wake the dead and done!

That minister of ministers,
Imagination, gathers up
The undiscovered Universe,
Like jewels in a jasper cup.

Its flame can mingle north and south;
Its accent with the thunder strive;
The ruddy sentence of its mouth
Can make the ancient dead alive.

The mart of power, the fount of will,
The form and mould of every star,
The source and bound of good and ill,
The key of all the things that are,

[...] Read more

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A Cinque Port

Below the down the stranded town
What may betide forlornly waits,
With memories of smoky skies,
When Gallic navies crossed the straits;
When waves with fire and blood grew bright,
And cannon thundered through the night.

With swinging stride the rhythmic tide
Bore to the harbour barque and sloop;
Across the bar the ship of war,
In castled stern and lanterned poop,
Came up with conquests on her lee,
The stately mistress of the sea.

Where argosies have wooed the breeze,
The simple sheep are feeding now;
And near and far across the bar
The ploughman whistles at the plough;
Where once the long waves washed the shore,
Larks from their lowly lodgings soar.

[...] Read more

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In Romney Marsh

As I went down to Dymchurch Wall,
I heard the South sing o'er the land
I saw the yellow sunlight fall
On knolls where Norman churches stand.

And ringing shrilly, taut and lithe,
Within the wind a core of sound,
The wire from Romney town to Hythe
Along its airy journey wound.

A veil of purple vapour flowed
And trailed its fringe along the Straits;
The upper air like sapphire glowed:
And roses filled Heaven's central gates.

Masts in the offing wagged their tops;
The swinging waves pealed on the shore;
The saffron beach, all diamond drops
And beads of surge, prolonged the roar.

[...] Read more

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A Northern Suburb

Nature selects the longest way,
 And winds about in tortuous grooves;
A thousand years the oaks decay;
 The wrinkled glacier hardly moves.

But here the whetted fangs of change
 Daily devour the old demesne –
The busy farm, the quiet grange,
 The wayside inn, the village green.

In gaudy yellow brick and red,
 With rooting pipes, like creepers rank,
The shoddy terraces o'erspread
 Meadow, and garth, and daisied bank.

With shelves for rooms the houses crowd,
 Like draughty cupboards in a row –
Ice-chests when wintry winds are loud,
 Ovens when summer breezes blow.

[...] Read more

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Song of a Train

A monster taught
To come to hand
Amain,
As swift as thought
Across the land
The train.

The song it sings
Has an iron sound;
Its iron wings
Like wheels go round.

Crash under bridges,
Flash over ridges,
And vault the downs;
The road is straight --
Nor stile, nor gate;
For milestones -- towns!

Voluminous, vanishing, white,

[...] Read more

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