Selected D.H. Lawrence Poems




Self Pity



I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.


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Piano


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 the 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.


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I am Like a Rose



I am myself at last; now I achieve
My very self, I, with the wonder mellow,
Full of fine warmth, I issue forth in clear
And single me, perfected from my fellow.

Here I am all myself.  No rose-bush heaving
Its limpid sap to culmination has brought
Itself more sheer and naked out of the green
In stark-clear roses, than I to myself am brought.


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What would you fight for?



I am not sure I would always fight for my life.
Life might not be worth fighting for.

I am not sure I would always fight for my wife.
A wife isn't always worth fighting for.

Nor my children, nor my country, nor my fellow-men.
It all deprnds whether I found them worth fighting for.

The only thing men invariably fight for
Is their money.  But I doubt if I'd fight for mine, anyhow
	not to shed a lot of blood over it.

Yet one thing I do fight for, tooth and nail, all the time.
And that is my bit of inward peace, where I am at one
	with myself.

And I must say, I am often worsted.

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To Women, As Far As I'm Concerned



The feelings I don't have I don't have.
The feelings I don't have, I won't say I have.
The felings you say you have, you don't have.
The feelings you would like us both to have, we 
	neither of us have.
The feelings people ought to have, they never have.
If people say they've got feelings, you may be pretty
	sure they haven't got them
So if you want either of us to feel anything at all
you'd better abandon all idea of feelings altogether.

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Intimates



Don't you care for my love? she said bitterly.

I handed her the mirror, and said:
Please address these questions to the proper person!
Please make all request to head-quarters!
In all matters of emotional importance
please approach the supreme authority direct!--
So I handed her the mirror.

And she would have borken it over my head,
but she caught sight of her own refection 
and that held her spellbound for two seconds
while I fled.

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Gipsy



I, THE MAN with the red scarf,		
Will give thee what I have, this last week’s earnings.		
Take them, and buy thee a silver ring		
And wed me, to ease my yearnings.		
		
For the rest, when thou art wedded		
I’ll wet my brow for thee		
With sweat, I’ll enter a house for thy sake,		
Thou shalt shut doors on me.		

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Ballad of Another Ophelia



OH the green glimmer of apples in the orchard, 
Lamps in a wash of rain! 
Oh the wet walk of my brown hen through the stackyard, 
Oh tears on the window pane! 

Nothing now will ripen the bright green apples, 
Full of disappointment and of rain, 
Brackish they will taste, of tears, when the yellow dapples 
Of autumn tell the withered tale again. 

All round the yard it is cluck, my brown hen, 
Cluck, and the rain-wet wings, 
Cluck, my marigold bird, and again 
Cluck for your yellow darlings. 

For the grey rat found the gold thirteen 
Huddled away in the dark, 
Flutter for a moment, oh the beast is quick and keen, 
Extinct one yellow-fluffy spark. 

Once I had a lover bright like running water, 
Once his face was laughing like the sky; 
Open like the sky looking down in all its laughter 
On the buttercups, and the buttercups was I. 

What, then, is there hidden in the skirts of all the blossom? 
What is peeping from your wings, oh mother hen? 
’Tis the sun who asks the question, in a lovely haste for wisdom; 
What a lovely haste for wisdom is in men! 
Yea, but it is cruel when undressed is all the blossom, 

And her shift is lying white upon the floor, 
That a grey one, like a shadow, like a rat, a thief, a rain-storm, 
Creeps upon her then and gathers in his store. 
Oh the grey garner that is full of half-grown apples, 
Oh the golden sparkles laid extinct! 

And oh, behind the cloud-sheaves, like yellow autumn dapples, 
Did you see the wicked sun that winked!

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From A College Window



The glimmer of the limes, sun-heavy, sleeping, 
Goes trembling past me up the College wall.
Below, the lawn, in soft blue shade is keeping
The diasy-froth quiescent, softly in thrall.

Beyond the leaves that overhang the street,
Along the flagged, clean pavement summer-white,
Passes the world with shadows at their feet
Going left and right.

Romoste, although I hear the beggar's cough,
See the woman's twinkling fingers tend him a coin,
I sit absolved, assured I am better off
Beyond a world I never want to join.
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The Appeal



You, Helen, who see the stars
As mistletoe berries burning in a black tree,
You surely, seeing I am a bowl of kisses
Should put your mouth to mine and drink of me.

Helen, you let my kisses steam
Wasteful into the night's black nostrils; drink
Me up, I pray; oh you, who are Night's bacchante,
How can you from my bowl of kisses shrink?
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Release



Helen, had I known yesterday
That you could dishcare the ache
	Out of the wound,
Had I know yesterday you could take
The turgid electric ache of away,
	Drink it up in the ground
Of your soft white body, as lightning
Is drunk from an agonised sky by the earth,
	I should have hated you, Helen.

But since my limbs gushed full of fire,
Since from out of my blood and bone
	Poured a heavy flame
To you, earth of my atmosphere, stone
Of my steel, lovely white flint of desire,
	You have no name,
Earth of my swaying atmosphere,
Substance of my inconsistent breath,
	I cannot but cleave to you, Helen.

Since you have drunken up the drear
Death-darkened storme, and death
	Is washed from the blue
Of my eyes, I see you beautiful, and dear.
Beautiful, passive and strong, as the breath
	Of my yearning blows over you.
I see myself as the winds that hover
Half substanceless, and without grave worth.
	But you
	Are the earth I hover over.
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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?


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On That Day


ON that day		
I shall put roses on roses, and cover your grave		
With multitude of white roses: and since you were brave		
One bright red ray.		
		
So people, passing under	
The ash-trees of the valley-road, will raise		
Their eyes and look at the grave on the hill, in wonder,		
Wondering mount, and put the flowers asunder		
		
To see whose praise		
Is blazoned here so white and so bloodily red.		
Then they will say: “’Tis long since she is dead,		
Who has remembered her after many days?”		
		
And standing there		
They will consider how you went your ways		
Unnoticed among them, a still queen lost in the maze		
Of this earthly affair.		
		
A queen, they’ll say,		
Has slept unnoticed on a forgotten hill.		
Sleeps on unknown, unnoticed there, until		
Dawns my insurgent day.	


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"And Oh--That The Man I Am Might Cease To Be--"



No, now I wish the sunshine would stop.
and the white shining houses, and the gay red flowers on 
	the balconies
and the bluish mountains beyond, would be crushed out
between two valves of darkness;
the darkness falling, the darkness rising, with muffled
	sound
obliterating everything.

I wish that whatever props up the walls of light
would fall, and darkness would come hurling heavily down,
and it would be thick black dark for ever.
Not sleep, which is grey with dreams,
nor death, which quivers with birth,
but heavy, sealing darkness, silence, all immovable.

What is sleep?
It goes over me, like a shadow over a hill,
but it does not alter me, nor help me.
And death would ache still, I am sure;
it would be lambent, uneasy.
I wish it would be completely dark everywhere,
inside me, and out, heavily dark
utterly.

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Why Does She Weep



Hush then
why do you cry?
It's you and me
the same as before.

If you hear a rustle
it's only a rabbit
gone back to his hole
in a bustle.

If something stirs in teh branches
overhead, it will be a squirrel moving
uneasily, disturbed by the stress
of our loving.

Why should you cry then?
Ar you afraid of God
in the dark?

I'm not afraid of God.
Let him come forth.
If he is hiding in the cover
let him come forth.

Now in the cool of the day
it is we who walk in the trees
and call to God "Where art thou?"
And it is he who hides.

Why do you cry?
My heart is bitter.
Let God come forth to justify
himself now.

Why do you cry?
Is it Wehmut, ist dir weh?
Weep then, yea
for the abomination of our old righteousness.

We have done wrong 
many times;
but this time we begin to do right.

Weep then, weep
for the abomination of our old righteousness.
God will keep
hidden, he won't come forth.

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The Elephant 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.

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Jealousy



The jealousy of an ego-bound woman
is hideous and fearful,
it is so much stronger than her love could ever be.

The jealousy of an ego-bound woman
is a fearful thing to behold
The eog revealed in all its monstrous inhumanity.

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All I ask



All I ask of a woman is that she shall feel gently towards
	me
when my heart feels kindly towards her,
and there shall be the soft, soft tremor as of unheard bells
	between us.
It is all I ask.
I am so tired of violent women lashing out and insisting
on being loved, when there is no love in them.

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Wild Things in Captivity



Wild things in captivity
while they keep their own wild purity
won't breed, they mope, they die.

All men are in captivity,
active with captive activity,
and the best won't breed, though they don't know why.

The great cage of our domesticity
kills sex in a man, the simplicity
of desire is distorted and twisted awry.

And so, with bitter perversity,
gritting against the great adversity,
they young ones copulate, hate it, and want to cry.

Sex is a state of grace.
In a cage it can't take place.
Break the cage then, start in and try.

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No! Mr. Lawrence!



No, Mr Lawrence, it's not like that!
I don't mnd telling you
I know a thing or two about love,
perhaps more than you do.

And what I know is that you make it
too nice, too beautiful.
It's not like that, you know; you fake it.
It's really rather dull.

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My Naughty Book



They say I wrote a naughty book
With perfectly awful things in it,
putting in all the impossible words
like b---- and f--- and sh--.

Most of my friends were deeply hurt
and haven't forgiven me yet;
I'd loaded the camel's back before
with dirt they couldn't forget.

And now, no really, the final straw
was words like sh-- and f--!
I heard the camel's back go crack 
beneath the weight of muck.

Then out of nowhere rushed John Bull,
that mildewed pup, good doggie!
squeakily bellowing for all he was worth,
and slavering wet and soggy.

He couldn't bite 'em he was much too old,
but he made a pool of dribblings;
so while the other one heaved her sides
with moans and hollow bibblings

he did his best, the good old dog
to support her, the hysterical camel,
and everyone listend and loved it, the
ridiculus bimmel-bammel.

But still, one has no right to take
the old dog's greenest bones
that he's buried now for centuries
beneath England's garden stones.

And, of course, one has no right to lay
such words to the camel's charge
when she prefers to have them left
in the W.C. writ large.

Poor homely words, I must give you back 
to the camel and the dog,
for her to mumble and him to crack
in secret, great golliwog!

And hereby I apologise
to all my foes and friends
for using words they privately keep
for their own immortal ends.

And henceforth I will never use
more than the chaste, short dash;
so do forgive me! I sprinkle my hair
with grey, repentant ash.

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Glory



Glory is the sun, too, and the sun of suns,
and down the shafts of his splendid pinions
run tiny rivers of peace.

Most of his time, the tiger pads and slouches in a burning
	peace.
And the small hawk high up turns round on the slow pivot of 
	peace
Peace comes from behind the sun, with the peregrine falcon,
	and the owl.
Yet all of these drink blood.

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