The Elephant is Slow to Mate

D. H. Lawrence

 
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.
 
From The Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence, edited by V. De Sola Pinto & F. W. Roberts. Copyright © 1964, 1971 by Angela Ravagli and C. M. Weekly, Executors of the Estate of Frieda Lawrence Ravagli. Used by permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc.

Poems by This Author

Baby Tortoise by D. H. Lawrence
You know what it is to be born alone,
Green by D. H. Lawrence
The dawn was apple-green
How Beastly the Bourgeois Is by D.H. Lawrence
How beastly the bourgeois is
In a Boat by D. H. Lawrence
See the stars, love
Last Words to Miriam by D. H. Lawrence
Yours is the shame and sorrow
Letter from Town: The Almond Tree by D. H. Lawrence
You promised to send me some violets. Did you forget
Nothing to Save by D. H. Lawrence
There is nothing to save, now all is lost,
Piano by D. H. Lawrence
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me
The Enkindled Spring by D. H. Lawrence
This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green
The White Horse by D. H. Lawrence
The youth walks up to the white horse, to put its halter on
Trees in the Garden by D. H. Lawrence
Ah in the thunder air
Whales Weep Not! by D. H. Lawrence
They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains


Further Reading

Poems for Anniversaries
A Man Meets a Woman in the Street
by Randall Jarrell
Couple Sharing a Peach
by Molly Peacock
Earth Tremors Felt in Missouri
by Mona Van Duyn
Francesco and Clare
by David St. John
I Married You
by Linda Pastan
Let Me Disappear
by Ray Gonzalez
Looking Back in My Eighty-First Year
by Maxine Kumin
Man and Wife
by Robert Lowell
My Wife
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Orpheus
by Robert Kelly
The Anniversary
by Elaine Terranova
The Anniversary
by John Donne
The Storm
by Theodore Roethke
The Sympathies of the Long Married
by Robert Bly
To My Dear and Loving Husband
by Anne Bradstreet
Poems About Passion and Sex
9.
by E. E. Cummings
Canterbury Tales, Wife of Bath's Prologue [Excerpt]
by Geoffrey Chaucer
A Greek Island
by Edward Hirsch
A Sequence
by Leslie Scalapino
Almost There
by Timothy Liu
Antique
by Arthur Rimbaud
Arts & Sciences
by Philip Appleman
At the Touch of You
by Witter Bynner
Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm
by Carl Phillips
Because I cannot remember my first kiss
by Roger Bonair-Agard
Blue
by May Swenson
Boston
by Aaron Smith
Carrefour
by Amy Lowell
corydon & alexis, redux
by D. A. Powell
Elegy 5
by Ovid
Erotic Energy
by Chase Twichell
First Turn to Me...
by Bernadette Mayer
Fish Fucking
by Michael Blumenthal
Fixed
by Christopher Stackhouse
In Praise of Shame
by Lord Alfred Douglas
Kinky
by Denise Duhamel
Libido
by Rupert Brooke
Me in Paradise
by Brenda Shaughnessy
My Bright Aluminum Tumblers
by Michael Ryan
National Nudist Club Newsletter
by Wayne Koestenbaum
No Platonic Love
by William Cartwright
Novel
by Arthur Rimbaud
Poems of Passion and Sex
Prague
by Khadijah Queen
Privilege of Being
by Robert Hass
Safe Sex
by Donald Hall
Sex
by Michael Ryan
Song
by James Joyce
Stones
by Michael Blumenthal
The Ecstasy
by Phillip Lopate
The Hug
by Thom Gunn
To His Mistress Going to Bed
by John Donne
Undressing You
by Witter Bynner
Wild Rose
by Bryher
XIII
by CÚsar Vallejo
Year of the Tiger
by Miguel Murphy