Hugh Sykes Davies

(1909-1984 / Yorkshire, England)

Hugh Sykes Davies
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Hugh Sykes Davies was an English poet, novelist and communist who was one of a small group of 1930s British surrealists.

Davies was born in Yorkshire to a Methodist minister and his wife. He went to Kingswood School, Bath and studied at Cambridge University, where he co-edited a student magazine called Experiment with William Empson. He spent some time in Paris during the 1930s. He was to stand as a communist candidate in the 1940 general election, but the vote was cancelled because of World War II. He was one of the organisers of the London International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936.

He had a talent for friendship, and as well as Empson, he numbered T. S. Eliot, I. A.... more »

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Best Poem of Hugh Sykes Davies

Poem (‘in The Stump Of The Old Tree...’)

In the stump of the old tree, where the heart has rotted out, there is a hole the length of a man’s arm, and a dank pool at the bottom of it where the rain gathers, and the old leaves turn into lacy skeletons. But do not put your hand down to see, because

in the stumps of old trees, where the hearts have rotted out, there are holes the length of a man’s arm, and dank pools at the bottom where the rain gathers and old leaves turn to lace, and the beak of a dead bird gapes like a trap. But do not put your hand down to see, because

in the stumps of old trees with ...

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