John Davitt Poetry

New Poems for 2016



Not sure when I turned into my dad

Perhaps when I stopped being jack the lad

Or understood the mitre mark

Or used a level properly

Then cleaned it after

And saw that the job was more important than the laughter

Or took responsibility for the bodge and began again


Or maybe one day

When the halo slipped

And the willpower dipped …

My dad turned into me…


© John Davitt 5th Jan 2016


Metaphor garden


Into the garden

To dig myself out of trouble

Or deeper in…..

The attendant robin sighs

and flicks tiny, piercing eyes upwards.

Picking the fork – that never made the toolshed

This harsh winter

I press the blunt tines of history into the soil

And turn the sod around


Only to find….

The clean blade of Heaney has sliced my spud

Leaving me with botritic halfies

and mealy-mouthed marbles

That I’ll struggle to cook

In the pan of experience


Better dig elsewhere.

© John Davitt 15th Jan 2016


Turning Back – the famine lament


I should have stopped

When I found hope snivelling in the rushes

Where the ewe had hid her sickly lamb

Last April twelve months

But the momentum of habit drove me on


Surely the crow-clear call of destiny flying south

Calling it a day above my head

Would stop me in my tracks

But no… I pushed on


Coming to the old stone house

I imagined a door

And knocked (deep within my mind’s eye)

“Come in” said love

I decided to stay even when all hope was gone


John Davitt

12th February 2015




Tiannamen  89
Now bikes suggest rickshaws
The emperor is wearing clothes
And I am reminded
Of mute ceramic armies

Now as the truth
Begins its wheel of reinvention
Some not broken on it
Invent a myth to last




my father shows me,
(with shortening patience)
how to sharpen steel

as if the split-light bevel
was skill that I can learn in minutes
as if the years he’d shaped such blades
were meaningless


The task now pulls attention
Into sharper all-consuming focus
As I retreat to the edges, gaps and memories
Of father/son relationships
Cold steel, warm hands & summer plans unrealised


then he tries the finished edge with careful thumb
…………nods.. satisfied
and caps the stone


© John Davitt  11th March 2012


numerically significant

time passes – now everything goes
the sepia bleaches
and curls its toes
prepares for a future
we think we know

the retina sighs and leaves the eye
in polished chromium now resides

a million pixels mock the glass
and a  mourner says “she had some class”

12.12.12  © John Davitt



the strong verbs of action

sat waiting in the cafe
if only someone came and asked
they’d quickly run the gaff

week 7 © John Davitt  20th February 2012

week 6 >
in search of our digital longitude

so far
no north star
no fixed point emerges in the firmament
no certain magnetic draw
no way to calculate a future path for sure
or know where we’ve been or how we got there

no second fix to triangulate our situation
no destination on the train now at the station

so back to the labyrinth afresh
just sigh and take a fragile piece of thread

© John Davitt  12th February 2012

week 5 > a  couplet 🙂

February 2012 > Europe

Spring put its head above the parapet
Then winter said “I  haven”t finished yet”

© John Davitt  5th February 2012

week 4 >

Enjoying the moment (en français)

Sometimes  it takes  another language
to sharpen up my  sleepy stumbling vowels
and when ideas go murky and obcure
French can be adroit / floating above as well as nailing down

and my favourite flip  as always
comes with substituting “maintenant” for “now”
why run from the moment in the instant
when you can stay and luxuriate – set the prow
towards the physical present
stay awhile in this time and enjoy

and don’t let screen, or tweet or phonecall –
shift the course too far from the sacrament of here
and the blessing of the now

© John Davitt  29th January 2012

week 3>

if the web were an iceberg

what would be the visible surface be?
email, tweets support and care?
deep marbled comms  with soft suffused  philanthropy

and then below the surface
in the nine tenths ballast of the ‘berg
self indulgence, shopping, porn by way of hubris?
where deeper secrets  / hidden moments lurk

but the metaphors mistaken
as the glacier shifts, groans, shards and calves
the good the bad the ugly
is shot right through the iceberg till it melts

Week 2 >
Nothing new under the sun

sometimes the pure digital blue
(the upper air of new advances)
is not as true as we thought we knew

before fibre-optic hove in sight
the beacon and the semaphore
sent signals at the speed of light

the email deluge had its match
with the penny post
and the door unlatched

Victorian hackers had recreation
with morse code from Cornwall
to the Royal Institution

and didn’t Icarus & Daedalus
ride the first manned drones
then go too far too soon – like some of us?

© John Davitt  15th January 2012

London Penny Post
At its peak in 1680 the London penny post was making hourly collections and up to 10 deliveries daily

Marconi Signals hacked  (via New Scientist story)
A century ago, one of the world’s first hackers used Morse code insults to disrupt a public demo of Marconi’s wireless telegraph

Next week “The Iceberg web”


The Davitt Weekly Version – a year in 52 short verse poems

– from doggerel to couplets by way of iambic pentameter

At years hinge the quest begins to tell the story of the times in weekly verse

Welcome to my perceptions on a year  summed up in 52 short verse poemsI hope as the year progresses these poems will become HTML5 works of art with deeper levels of interaction – for now they will be plain text with the odd hoiperlink…..and a free gift – this week it’s a link to Davitt’s DOGsearch – an embryonic presearch engine
John D

week 1

2012 the year of delayed gratification?

Surely only a sadist would mention

deferred gratification in deepest January?

yet research tells us if we build

the muscles of restraint

we benefit long and wide
not just now but out beyond in life beside

in ’72 a clever fellow
put 4 year olds in rooms with  tasty marshmallows

their instructions were an easy do
“if you don’t eat one now I’ll return & give you two”

their findings are  easy to summarise

marshmallow uneaten meant a life more complete n’…

perhaps the ration card should make a comeback

not for food but for the social media muntjac
( a small eye deer  that damages growing plants)

and so that’s the theme

a year of less screen and more team

time to build the muscles of digital self-restraint

in the here and now to luxuriate

to throw more time between the idea and the execution

and  a presearch engine to defer gratification

John Davitt      Jan7th 2012

dogsearch an embryonic presearch engine (soon to be html for iPad)

marshmallow research here