Having tried several of DH Lawrence's novels, and only managed to struggle all the way through one of his shortest (The Virgin and the Gipsy) which I wished I hadn't bothered with, I was surprised to discover how much I liked the one or two of his poems I've come across (largely courtesy of this site). So I borrowed the 2 volume collected works from my local library recently. It was an interesting exercise. It seemed to me that he wrote a few amazingly good poems from viewpoints I cannot tolerate - (eg These Clever Women below), that he had two or three obsessions of subject (eg his unique brand of socialism) or object (the moon, apples) about which he wrote lots of poems, and then there are about 6 that I really like a lot eg Piano and Fidelity (below). I've never read any poet who has elicited such mixed feelings. I think I would have hated him as a person, but he was very skilled as a poet even when extolling viewpoints I totally disagree with.
These Clever Women
Close your eyes, my love, let me make you blind!
They have taught you to see
Only problems writ on the face of things,
And algebra in the eyes of desirous men,
And God like geometry
Tangling his circles to baffle you and me.
I would kiss you over they eyes till I kissed you blind;
If I could--if anyone could!
Then perhaps iin the dark you'd get what you want to find:
The solution that ever is much too deep for the imnd;
Dissolved in blood.....
That I am the hart, and you are the gentle hind.
Now stop carping at me! Do you want me to hate you?
Am I a kaleidoscope
For you to shake and shake, and it won't come right?
Am I doomed in a long coiton of words to mate you?
Unsatisfied! Is there no hope
Between your thighs, far, far from your peering sight?
FIDELITY by D H Lawrence
Fidelity and love are two different things, like a flower
and a gem.
And love, like a flower, will fade, will change into some-
or it would not be flowery.
O flowers they fade because they are moving swiftly; a
little torrent of life
leaps up to the summit of the stem, gleams, turns over
round the bend
of the parabola of curved flight,
sinks, and is gone, like a comet curving into the invisible.
O flowers they are all the time travelling
like comets, and they come into our ken
for a day, for two days, and withdraw, slowly vanish again.
And we, we must take them on the wind, and let them go.
Embalmed flowers are not flowers, immortelles are not
flowers are just a motion, a swift motion, a coloured
that is their loveliness. And that is love.
But a gem is different. It lasts so much longer than we do
so much much much longer
that it seems to last forever.
Yet we know it is flowing away
as flowers are, and we are, only slower.
The wonderful slow flowing of the sapphire!
All flows, and every flow is related to every other flow.
Flowers and sapphires and us, diversely streaming.
In the old days, when sapphires were breathed upon and
during the wild orgasms of chaos
time was much slower, when the rocks came forth.
It took aeons to make a sapphire, aeons for it to pass away.
And a flower it takes a summer.
And man and woman are like the earth, that brings forth
in summer, and love, but underneath is rock.
Older than flowers, older than ferns, older than fora-
older than plasm altogether is the soul of a man under-
And when, throughout all the wild orgasms of love
slowly a gem forms, in the ancient, once-more molten
of two human hearts, two ancient rocks, a manís heart
and a womanís,
that is the crystal of peace, the slow hard jewel of trust,
the sapphire of fidelity.
The gem of mutual peace emerging from the wild chaos of love.
Here's a link to dozens of Lawrence's poems: [www.poemhunter.com] />
I like the philosophy of this one:
We are Transmitters
As we live, we are transmitters of life.
And when we fail to transmit life, life fails to flow through us.
That is part of the mystery of sex, it is a flow onwards.
Sexless people transmit nothing.
And if, as we work, we can transmit life into our work,
life, still more life, rushes into us to compensate, to be ready
and we ripple with life through the days.
Even if it is a woman making an apple dumpling, or a man a stool,
if life goes into the pudding, good is the pudding
good is the stool,
content is the woman, with fresh life rippling in to her,
content is the man.
Give, and it shall be given unto you
is still the truth about life.
But giving life is not so easy.
It doesn't mean handing it out to some mean fool, or letting the living dead eat you up.
It means kindling the life-quality where it was not,
even if it's only in the whiteness of a washed pocket-handkerchief.
Yes, that was another that particularly resonated with me.