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About this Poem 

“Shades” was published in Lawrence’s book Bay (Beaumont Press, 1919).

Shades

Shall I tell you, then, how it is?—
There came a cloven gleam
Like a tongue of darkened flame
To flicker in me.

And so I seem
To have you still the same
In one world with me.

In the flicker of a flower,
In a worm that is blind, yet strives,
In a mouse that pauses to listen

Glimmers our
Shadow; yet it deprives
Them none of their glisten.

In every shaken morsel
I see our shadow tremble
As if it rippled from out of us hand in hand.

As if it were part and parcel,
One shadow, and we need not dissemble
Our darkness: do you understand?

For I have told you plainly how it is.

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

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The night turns slowly round,
Swift trains go by in a rush of light;
Slow trains steal past.
This train beats anxiously, outward bound.

But I am not here.
I am away, beyond the scope of this turning;
There, where the pivot is, the axis
Of all this gear.

I, who sit in tears

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The pine-trees bend to listen to the autumn wind as it mutters
Something which sets the black poplars ashake with hysterical laughter;
While slowly the house of day is closing its eastern shutters.

Further down the valley the clustered tombstones recede,
Winding about their dimness the mist’s

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The little river twittering in the twilight,
The wan, wondering look of the pale sky,
            This is almost bliss.

And everything shut up and gone to sleep,
All the troubles and anxieties and pain
            Gone under the twilight.

Only the twilight now, and the soft “Sh!” of