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Lawrence, D.H.

· D.H. LAWRENCE: Excursion · D. H. Lawrence: The Enkindled Spring · D. H. Lawrence: Trees in the Garden · D. H. Lawrence: In a Boat · D. H. Lawrence: The Almond Tree · D. H. Lawrence: Piano · D. H. Lawrence: The Elephant is Slow to Mate · D. H. Lawrence: Green · D. H. Lawrence: Whales Weep Not! · D. H. Lawrence: Last Words to Miriam · D. H. Lawrence: Snake · D. H. Lawrence: After The Opera

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D.H. LAWRENCE: Excursion

D.H. Lawrence

I wonder, can the night go by;
Can this shot arrow of travel fly
Shaft-golden with light, sheer into the sky
Of a dawned to-morrow,
Without ever sleep delivering us
From each other, or loosing the dolorous
Unfruitful sorrow!

What is it then that you can see
That at the window endlessly
You watch the red sparks whirl and flee
And the night look through?
Your presence peering lonelily there
Oppresses me so, I can hardly bear
To share the train with you.

You hurt my heart-beats’ privacy;
I wish I could put you away from me;
I suffocate in this intimacy,
For all that I love you;
How I have longed for this night in the train,
Yet now every fibre of me cries in pain
To God to remove you.

But surely my soul’s best dream is still
That one night pouring down shall swill
Us away in an utter sleep, until
We are one, smooth-rounded.
Yet closely bitten in to me
Is this armour of stiff reluctancy
That keeps me impounded.

So, dear love, when another night
Pours on us, lift your fingers white
And strip me naked, touch me light,
Light, light all over.
For I ache most earnestly for your touch,
Yet I cannot move, however much
I would be your lover.

Night after night with a blemish of day
Unblown and unblossomed has withered away;
Come another night, come a new night, say
Will you pluck me apart?
Will you open the amorous, aching bud
Of my body, and loose the burning flood
That would leap to you from my heart?

D.H.Lawrence (1883 – 1930)
Excursion magazine

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D. H. Lawrence: The Enkindled Spring

D. H. Lawrence



The Enkindled Spring


This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,

Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,

Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between

Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.


I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration

Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze

Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,

Faces of people streaming across my gaze.


And I, what fountain of fire am I among

This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed

About like a shadow buffeted in the throng

Of flames, a shadow that’s gone astray, and is lost.


D.H. Lawrence poetry magazine

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D. H. Lawrence: Trees in the Garden

D. H. Lawrence



Trees in the Garden


Ah in the thunder air

how still the trees are!


And the lime-tree, lovely and tall, every leaf silent

hardly looses even a last breath of perfume.


And the ghostly, creamy coloured little tree of leaves

white, ivory white among the rambling greens

how evanescent, variegated elder, she hesitates on the green grass

as if, in another moment, she would disappear

with all her grace of foam!


And the larch that is only a column, it goes up too tall to see:

and the balsam-pines that are blue with the grey-blue blueness of

things from the sea,

and the young copper beech, its leaves red-rosy at the ends

how still they are together, they stand so still

in the thunder air, all strangers to one another

as the green grass glows upwards, strangers in the silent garden.


D.H. Lawrence poetry poetry magazine

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D. H. Lawrence: In a Boat

D. H. Lawrence



In a Boat


See the stars, love,

In the water much clearer and brighter

Than those above us, and whiter,

Like nenuphars.


Star-shadows shine, love,

How many stars in your bowl?

How many shadows in your soul,

Only mine, love, mine?


When I move the oars, love,

See how the stars are tossed,

Distorted, the brightest lost.

—So that bright one of yours, love.


The poor waters spill

The stars, waters broken, forsaken.

—The heavens are not shaken, you say, love,

Its stars stand still.


There, did you see

That spark fly up at us; even

Stars are not safe in heaven.

—What of yours, then, love, yours?


What then, love, if soon

Your light be tossed over a wave?

Will you count the darkness a grave,

And swoon, love, swoon?


D.H. Lawrence poetry poetry magazine

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D. H. Lawrence: The Almond Tree

D. H. Lawrence



The Almond Tree

(Letter from Town)


You promised to send me some violets. Did you forget?

White ones and blue ones from under the orchard hedge?

Sweet dark purple, and white ones mixed for a pledge

Of our early love that hardly has opened yet.


Here there’s an almond tree—you have never seen

Such a one in the north—it flowers on the street, and I stand

Every day by the fence to look up for the flowers that expand

At rest in the blue, and wonder at what they mean.


Under the almond tree, the happy lands

Provence, Japan, and Italy repose,

And passing feet are chatter and clapping of those

Who play around us, country girls clapping their hands.


You, my love, the foremost, in a flowered gown,

All your unbearable tenderness, you with the laughter

Startled upon your eyes now so wide with hereafter,

You with loose hands of abandonment hanging down.


D.H. Lawrence poetry magazine

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D. H. Lawrence: Piano

D. H. Lawrence





Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;

Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see

A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings

And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.


In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song

Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong

To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside

And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.


So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour

With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour

Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast

Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.


D.H. Lawrence poetry magazine

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D. H. Lawrence: The Elephant is Slow to Mate

D. H. Lawrence



The Elephant is Slow to Mate


The elephant, the huge old beast,

is slow to mate;

he finds a female, they show no haste

they wait


for the sympathy in their vast shy hearts

slowly, slowly to rouse

as they loiter along the river-beds

and drink and browse


and dash in panic through the brake

of forest with the herd,

and sleep in massive silence, and wake

together, without a word.


So slowly the great hot elephant hearts

grow full of desire,

and the great beasts mate in secret at last,

hiding their fire.


Oldest they are and the wisest of beasts

so they know at last

how to wait for the loneliest of feasts

for the full repast.


They do not snatch, they do not tear;

their massive blood

moves as the moon-tides, near, more near

till they touch in flood.


D.H. Lawrence poetry magazine

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D. H. Lawrence: Green

D. H. Lawrence





The dawn was apple-green,

The sky was green wine held up in the sun,

The moon was a golden petal between.


She opened her eyes, and green

They shone, clear like flowers undone

For the first time, now for the first time seen.


D.H. Lawrence poetry magazine

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D. H. Lawrence: Whales Weep Not!

D. H. Lawrence



Whales Weep Not!


They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains

the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.


All the whales in the wider deeps, hot are they, as they urge

on and on, and dive beneath the icebergs.

The right whales, the sperm-whales, the hammer-heads, the killers

there they blow, there they blow, hot wild white breath out of

the sea!


And they rock, and they rock, through the sensual ageless ages

on the depths of the seven seas,

and through the salt they reel with drunk delight

and in the tropics tremble they with love

and roll with massive, strong desire, like gods.

Then the great bull lies up against his bride

in the blue deep bed of the sea,

as mountain pressing on mountain, in the zest of life:

and out of the inward roaring of the inner red ocean of whale-blood

the long tip reaches strong, intense, like the maelstrom-tip, and

comes to rest

in the clasp and the soft, wild clutch of a she-whale’s

fathomless body.


And over the bridge of the whale’s strong phallus, linking the

wonder of whales

the burning archangels under the sea keep passing, back and


keep passing, archangels of bliss

from him to her, from her to him, great Cherubim

that wait on whales in mid-ocean, suspended in the waves of the


great heaven of whales in the waters, old hierarchies.


And enormous mother whales lie dreaming suckling their whale-

tender young

and dreaming with strange whale eyes wide open in the waters of

the beginning and the end.


And bull-whales gather their women and whale-calves in a ring

when danger threatens, on the surface of the ceaseless flood

and range themselves like great fierce Seraphim facing the threat

encircling their huddled monsters of love.

And all this happens in the sea, in the salt

where God is also love, but without words:

and Aphrodite is the wife of whales

most happy, happy she!


and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin

she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea

she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males

and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea.


D.H. Lawrence poetry magazine

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D. H. Lawrence: Last Words to Miriam

D. H. Lawrence



Last Words to Miriam


Yours is the shame and sorrow

But the disgrace is mine;

Your love was dark and thorough,

Mine was the love of the sun for a flower

He creates with his shine.


I was diligent to explore you,

Blossom you stalk by stalk,

Till my fire of creation bore you

Shrivelling down in the final dour

Anguish—then I suffered a balk.


I knew your pain, and it broke

My fine, craftsman’s nerve;

Your body quailed at my stroke,

And my courage failed to give you the last

Fine torture you did deserve.


You are shapely, you are adorned,

But opaque and dull in the flesh,

Who, had I but pierced with the thorned

Fire-threshing anguish, were fused and cast

In a lovely illumined mesh.


Like a painted window: the best

Suffering burnt through your flesh,

Undressed it and left it blest

With a quivering sweet wisdom of grace: but now

Who shall take you afresh?


Now who will burn you free,

From your body’s terrors and dross,

Since the fire has failed in me?

What man will stoop in your flesh to plough

The shrieking cross?


A mute, nearly beautiful thing

Is your face, that fills me with shame

As I see it hardening,

Warping the perfect image of God,

And darkening my eternal fame.


D.H. Lawrence poetry magazine

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D. H. Lawrence: Snake

D. H. Lawrence





A snake came to my water-trough

On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,

To drink there.


In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree

I came down the steps with my pitcher

And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before



He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom

And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of

the stone trough

And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,

i o And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,

He sipped with his straight mouth,

Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,



Someone was before me at my water-trough,

And I, like a second comer, waiting.


He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,

And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,

And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,

And stooped and drank a little more,

Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth

On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.

The voice of my education said to me

He must be killed,

For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.


And voices in me said, If you were a man

You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.


But must I confess how I liked him,

How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough

And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,

Into the burning bowels of this earth?


Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him?

Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him?

Was it humility, to feel so honoured?

I felt so honoured.


And yet those voices:

If you were not afraid, you would kill him!


And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more

That he should seek my hospitality

From out the dark door of the secret earth.


He drank enough

And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,

And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,

Seeming to lick his lips,

And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,

And slowly turned his head,

And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,

Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round

And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.


And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,

And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther,

A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,

Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,

Overcame me now his back was turned.


I looked round, I put down my pitcher,

I picked up a clumsy log

And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.


I think it did not hit him,

But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.

Writhed like lightning, and was gone

Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,

At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.


And immediately I regretted it.

I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!

I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.


And I thought of the albatross

And I wished he would come back, my snake.


For he seemed to me again like a king,

Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,

Now due to be crowned again.


And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords

Of life.

And I have something to expiate:

A pettiness.


Taormina, 1923


D. H. Lawrence: Snake magazine

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D. H. Lawrence: After The Opera

D. H. Lawrence



After The Opera


Down the stone stairs

Girls with their large eyes wide with tragedy

Lift looks of shocked and momentous emotion up at me.

And I smile.



Stepping like birds with their bright and pointed feet

Peer anxiously forth, as if for a boat to carry them out of the wreckage,

And among the wreck of the theatre crowd

I stand and smile.


They take tragedy so becomingly.

Which pleases me.


But when I meet the weary eyes

The reddened aching eyes of the bar-man with thin arms,

I am glad to go back to where I came from.


D. H. Lawrence poetry magazine

More in: Archive K-L, D.H. Lawrence, Lawrence, D.H.

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