Thursday, 21 February 2008

D H Lawrence, poet - part 8

In northern climes spring is appearing in the hedgerows. Small birds are about their business. In gardens and parks snowdrops are shaking their heads, shaking their heads. Daffodils are showing in many parts of England. Retired people are appearing again in their gardens in the sunshine between the sudden showers, picking up the debris of winter storms, raking away old leaves and grass. Activity is once again the order of the day. Violets may be appearing. Mysteriously, in P-i-R's garden a single white rose has survived all the trials and tribulations of winter.
D H Lawrence was fascinated by spring, the season of birth and regeneration. His poem 'Craving for Spring' demonstrates the thrill the poet feels standing on the threshold of spring. Here is the concluding part, the climax, of the poem.

from Craving for Spring

Ah come, come quickly, spring!
Come and lift us towards our culmination, we myriads;
we who have never flowered, like patient cactuses.
Come and lift us to our end, to blossom, bring us to our summer
we who are winter-weary in the winter of the world.
Come making the chaffinch nests hollow and cosy,
come and soften the willow buds till they are puffed and
then blow them over with gold.
Come and cajole the gawky colt's-foot flowers.

Come quickly, and vindicate us
against too much death.
Come quickly, and stir the rotten globe of the world from
burst it with germination, with world anew.
Come now, to us, your adherents, who cannot flower from the
All the world gleams with the lilies of Death the
but come, give us our turn.
Enough of the virgins and lilies, of passionate, suffocating
perfume of corruption,
no more narcissus perfume, lily harlots, the blades of sensation
piercing the flesh to blossom of death.
Have done, have done with this shuddering, delicious business
of thrilling ruin in the flesh, of pungent passion, of rare,
death-edged ecstasy.
Give us our turn, give us a chance, let our hour strike,
O soon, soon!

Let the darkness turn violet with rich dawn.
Let the darkness be warmed, warmed through to a ruddy
incipient purpling towards summer in the world of the heart of

Are the violets already here!
Show me! I tremble so much to hear it, that even now
on the threshold of spring, I fear I shall die.
Show me the violets that are out.

Oh, if it be true, and the living darkness of the blood of man is
purpling with violets,
if the violets are coming out from under the rack of men,
winter-rotten and fallen
we shall have spring.
Pray not to die on this Pisgah* blossoming with violets.
Pray to live through.

If you catch a whiff of violets from the darkness of the shadow
of man
it will be spring in the world,
it will be spring in the world of the living;
wonderment organising itself, heralding itself with the violets,
stirring of new seasons.

Ah, do not let me die on the brink of such anticipation!
Worse, let me not deceive myself.

*Pisgah - the peak from which Moses beheld the Promised Land.

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