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About this poet

David Herbert Lawrence, novelist, short-story writer, poet, and essayist, was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England, on September 11, 1885. Though better known as a novelist, Lawrence's first-published works (in 1909) were poems, and his poetry, especially his evocations of the natural world, have since had a significant influence on many poets on both sides of the Atlantic. His early poems reflect the influence of Ezra Pound and Imagist movement, which reached its peak in the early teens of the twentieth century. When Pound attempted to draw Lawrence into his circle of writer-followers, however, Lawrence decided to pursue a more independent path.

He believed in writing poetry that was stark, immediate and true to the mysterious inner force which motivated it. Many of his best-loved poems treat the physical and inner life of plants and animals; others are bitterly satiric and express his outrage at the puritanism and hypocrisy of conventional Anglo-Saxon society. Lawrence was a rebellious and profoundly polemical writer with radical views, who regarded sex, the primitive subconscious, and nature as cures to what he considered the evils of modern industrialized society. Tremendously prolific, his work was often uneven in quality, and he was a continual source of controversy, often involved in widely-publicized censorship cases, most famously for his novel Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928). His collections of poetry include Look! We Have Come Through (1917), a collection of poems about his wife; Birds, Beasts, and Flowers (1923); and Pansies (1929), which was banned on publication in England.

Besides his troubles with the censors, Lawrence was persecuted as well during World War I, for the supposed pro-German sympathies of his wife, Frieda. As a consequence, the Lawrences left England and traveled restlessly to Italy, Germany, Ceylon, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, the French Riviera, Mexico and the United States, unsuccessfully searching for a new homeland. In Taos, New Mexico, he became the center of a group of female admirers who considered themselves his disciples, and whose quarrels for his attention became a literary legend. A lifelong sufferer from tuberculosis, Lawrence died in 1930 in France, at the age of forty-four.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry

Amores (1916)
Bay (1919)
Birds, Beasts and Flowers (1923)
Collected Poems (1932)
Collected Poems (1964)
Complete Poems (1957)
Fire and Other Poems (1940)
Last Poems (1932)
Look! We Have Come Through (1917)
Love Poems and Others (1913)
Nettles (1930)
New Poems (1918)
Pansies (1929)
Poems (1939)
The Ship of Death (1933)
Tortoises (1921)

Prose

Apocalypse (1932)
Democracy (1936)
Etruscan Places (1927)
Fantasia of the Unconscious (1922)
Letters (1932)
Mornings in Mexico (1927)
Movements in European History (1921)
Pornography and Obscenity (1930)
Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious (1921)
Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine (1934)
Sea and Sardinia (1921)
Selected Literary Criticism (1955)
Studies in Classic American Literature (1923)
The Letters of D. H. Lawrence (1991)
Twilight in Italy (1916)

Letters

Aaron's Rod (1922)
Complete Short Stories (1955)
Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928)
Sons and Lovers (1913)
The Boy in the Bush (1924)
The Captain's Doll (1923)
The Lost Girl (1920)
The Man Who Died (1930)
The Plumed Serpent (1926)
The Rainbow (1915)
The Short Novels (1956)
The Trespasser (1912)
The White Peacock (1911)
Women in Love (1916)

Monologue of a Mother

This is the last of all, this is the last!
I must hold my hands, and turn my face to the fire,
I must watch my dead days fusing together in dross,
Shape after shape, and scene after scene from my past
Fusing to one dead mass in the sinking fire
Where the ash on the dying coals grows swiftly, like heavy moss.

Strange he is, my son, whom I have awaited like a lover,
Strange to me like a captive in a foreign country, haunting
The confines and gazing out on the land where the wind is free;
White and gaunt, with wistful eyes that hover
Always on the distance, as if his soul were chaunting
The monotonous weird of departure away from me.

Like a strange white bird blown out of the frozen seas,
Like a bird from the far north blown with a broken wing
Into our sooty garden, he drags and beats
From place to place perpetually, seeking release
From me, from the hand of my love which creeps up, needing
His happiness, whilst he in displeasure retreats.

I must look away from him, for my faded eyes
Like a cringing dog at his heels offend him now,
Like a toothless hound pursuing him with my will,
Till he chafes at my crouching persistence, and a sharp spark flies
In my soul from under the sudden frown of his brow,
As he blenches and turns away, and my heart stands still.

This is the last, it will not be any more.
All my life I have borne the burden of myself,
All the long years of sitting in my husband’s house,
Never have I said to myself as he closed the door:
“Now I am caught!—You are hopelessly lost, O Self,
You are frightened with joy, my heart, like a frightened mouse.”

Three times have I offered myself, three times rejected.
It will not be any more. No more, my son, my son!
Never to know the glad freedom of obedience, since long ago
The angel of childhood kissed me and went. I expected
Another would take me,—and now, my son, O my son,
I must sit awhile and wait, and never know
The loss of myself, till death  comes, who cannot fail.

Death, in whose service is nothing of gladness, takes me;
For the lips and the eyes of God are behind a veil.
And the thought of the lipless voice of the Father shakes me
With fear, and fills my eyes with the tears of desire,
And my heart rebels with anguish as night draws nigher.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence

David Herbert Lawrence, novelist, short-story writer, poet, and essayist, was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England, on September 11, 1885. Though better known as a novelist, Lawrence's first-published works (in 1909) were poems, and his poetry, especially his evocations of the natural world, have since had a significant influence on many poets on both sides of the Atlantic.

by this poet

poem

Now I am all
One bowl of kisses,
Such as the tall
Slim votaresses
Of Egypt filled
For a God’s excesses.

I lift to you
My bowl of kisses,
And through the temple’s
Blue recesses
Cry out to you
In wild caresses.

And to my lips’
Bright crimson rim

poem

Old

I have opened the window to warm my hands on the sill
Where the sunlight soaks in the stone: the afternoon
Is full of dreams, my love, the boys are all still
In a wistful dream of Lorna Doone.

The clink of the shunting engines is sharp and fine,
Like savage music striking far off

poem

Out of the darkness, fretted sometimes in its sleeping,
Jets of sparks in fountains of blue come leaping
To sight, revealing a secret, numberless secrets keeping.

Sometimes the darkness trapped within a wheel
Runs into speed like a dream, the blue of the steel
Showing the rocking darkness