Rumens said 'Departed' was a 'poem that marks a complete departure from the conventional elegy.'
'At first sight the poem might appear to be saying something ordinarily elegiac in an ordinary way. Davies is a poet of many skills and shapes: the collection mixes free and tightly formal verse, and only a few poems take the regular quatrain pattern. So it's not the default stanza-form for Davies that it can become for some poets. At the same time, its use here reminds the reader of other elegiac poems – Gray's Elegy, perhaps, also in iambic pentameter and rhymed ABAB. The diction is plain, like that of good prose, the deft verse-carpentry utterly unobtrusive.'
After a discussion of the content and the techniques of the poem, Rumens concluded:
'Davies is perhaps a religious poet, but he evades "organised" religion. His speakers quietly wait and watch, keeping a "less-deceived" eye on what is, and letting the observations move as they will to epiphany or moral insight. It may be far-fetched to think a primarily Welsh writer could be influenced by Philip Larkin, but Larkin is the poet he most reminds me of: a writer not afraid of the big themes, but not pretentious about them, and not afraid of the ordinary, but alert to the measure of its significance.'
The article, which can be read in full here, along with the poem, attracted 222 comments.
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