By Donald (Grady) Davidson
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.
from The Fugitive, 1922
Donald (Grady) Davidson
Poet Donald (Grady) Davidson was born in Tennessee and was a member of both the Fugitive and Agrarian groups at Vanderbilt University. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Vanderbilt University and remained at the University his entire professional career (1920 – 1968) teaching English. In addition to being a teacher, Davidson enjoyed an international reputation as a poet, essayist, novelist, and critic. His first book of poems, The Outland Piper, was published in 1924. From 1931-1967 he spent his summers teaching at Bread Loaf School of English in Ripton, Vermont. He served in the military during World War I May 1917- June 1919. In June of 1918 he married Theresa Sherrer, a legal scholar and artist. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, American Folklore Society, American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, South Atlantic Modern Language Association, and the Tennessee Federation for Constitutional Government.