Poem introduction

This poem is called 'Uxor Vivamus . . .', a Latin phrase taken from the poet Ausonius. The poem in question is a poem in which he writes, speaking to his wife just after they've married, and he says: 'let us live always as we live now', with this happiness and hope at the beginning of marriage; and 'uxor vivamus' means 'let us live, wife, let us live'.

Uxor Vivamus . . .

The first night that I slept with you
And slept, I dreamt (these lines are true):
Now newly married we had moved
Into an unkempt house we loved—
The rooms were large, the floors of stone,
The garden gently overgrown
With sunflowers, phlox, and mignonette—
All as we would have wished and yet
There was a shabby something there
Tainting the mild and windless air.
Where did it lurk? Alarmed we saw
The walls about us held the flaw—
They were of plaster, like gray chalk,
Porous and dead: it seemed our talk,
Our glances, even love, would die
With such indifference standing by.
Then, scarcely thinking what I did,
I chipped the plaster and it slid
In easy pieces to the floor;
It crumbled cleanly, more and more
Fell unresistingly away—
And there, beneath that deadening gray,
A fresco stood revealed: sky-blue
Predominated, for the view
Was an ebullient country scene,
The crowning of some pageant queen
Whose dress shone blue, and over all
The summer sky filled half the wall.
And so it was in every room,
The plaster's undistinguished gloom
Gave way to dances, festivals, 
Processions, muted pastorals—
And everywhere that spacious blue:
I woke, and lying next to you
Knew all that I had dreamt was true.


from The Covenant (Anvil, 1984), © Dick Davis 1984, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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1Love in Another Language

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2Travelling

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3Desert Stop at Noon

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4Memories of Cochin

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5Climbing

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6Dawn

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7In the Gallery

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8The Jigsaw

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9Uxor Vivamus . . .

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10A Letter to Omar

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11Richard Davis

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126am Thoughts

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13Ibn Battuta

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14Evening

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15A Monorhyme for Miscegenation

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16Given Back, After Illness

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17Anthony 1946-1966

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18A Photograph of Two Brothers

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19A Sasanian Palace

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20We Should Be So Lucky

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21A Translator's Nightmare

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22Shadows

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23A Monorhyme for the Shower

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24Iran Twenty Years Ago

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25Duchy and Shinks

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26West South West

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27Teresia Shirley

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28Guides for the Soul

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29Desire

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30Listening

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31The Scholar as a Naughty Boy

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32Anglais Mort à Santa Barbara

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33Under $6 a Bottle

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34Shopping

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35A Visit to Grandmother's

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36A Mystery Novel

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37Later

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38The Introduction

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39Campanilismo

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40A Winter's Tale

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41The Lighthouse

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42A Personal Sonnet

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43Walking the Dog

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44To Take Courage in Childhood

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45Translating Hafez, or Trying To

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46An Excerpt from Vis and Ramin (tr. Dick Davis)

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