Wednesday, 13 February 2008

D H Lawrence part 4, spiritualistic bits and pieces

Poet-in-Residence's tribute to D H Lawrence, author of almost 1,000 poems, continues. P-i-R offers for consideration a few of Lawrence's spiritualistic ideas.


I like relativity and quantum theories
because I don't understand them
and they make me feel as if space shifted about like a swan that
can't settle,
refusing to sit still and be measured;
and as if the atom were an impulsive thing
always changing its mind.

The Church

If I was a member of the Church of Rome
I should advocate reform:
the marriage of priests
the priests to wear rose-colour or magenta in the streets
to teach the Resurrection in the flesh
to start the year on Easter Sunday
to add the mystery of Joy-in-Resurrection to the Mass
to inculcate the new conception of the Risen Man.


No one, not even God, can put back a leaf on to a tree
once it has fallen off.

And no one, not God nor Christ nor any other
can put back a human life into connection with the living
once the connection has been broken
and the person has become finally self-centred.

Death alone, through the long process of disintegration
can melt the detached life back
through the dark Hades at the roots of the tree
into the circulating sap, once more, of the tree of life.

Name the Gods!

I refuse to name the gods, because they have no name.
I refuse to describe the gods, because they have no form nor
shape nor substance.
Ah, but the simple ask for images!
Then for a time at least, they must do without.

But all the time I see the gods:
the man who is mowing the tall white corn,
suddenly, as it curves, as it yields, the white wheat
and sinks down with a swift rustle, and a strange, falling
ah! the gods, the swaying body of god!
ah the fallen stillness of god, autumnus, and it is only July
the pale-gold flesh of Priapus dropping asleep.

Retort to Whitman

And whoever walks a mile full of false sympathy
walks to the funeral of the whole human race.

Retort to Jesus

And whoever forces himself to love anybody
begets a murderer in his own body.

Sense of Truth

You must fuse mind and wit with all the senses
before you can feel truth.
And if you can't feel truth you can't have any other
satisfactory sensual experience.

When Satan Fell

When Satan fell, he only fell
because the Lord Almighty rose a bit too high,
a bit beyond himself.

So Satan only fell to keep a balance.
'Are you so lofty, O my God?
Are you so pure and lofty, up aloft?
Then I will fall, and plant the paths to hell
with vines and poppies and fig-trees
so that lost souls may eat grapes
and the moist fig
and put scarlet buds in their hair on the way to hell,
on the way to dark perdition.'

And hell and heaven are the scales of the balance of life
which swing against each other.

1 comment:

  1. A good group of poems by Lawrence on an important theme. The "Retort to Jesus" shows the poet's misunderstanding of Christ and his message: one becomes a murderer not of oneself but of one's egocentrism and egotism when one loves against one's will. Lawrence should not have worried--very few people are "murdering themselves" as he quipped. That's sadly true even in the church. However, those who do know true joy.

    Most of the other poems I agree with, though some have better art than others.


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