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D. H. Lawrence: Last Words to Miriam

D. H. Lawrence

(1885-1930)

 

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

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