Friday, 22 February 2008

D H Lawrence, poet - part 9

D H Lawrence spent part of his later life in Mexico. He is buried there. His novel, 'The Plumed Serpent', is set in Mexico. The first chapter, a bull-fight, is a terrific under-your-skin read; not at all like Hemingway's technically precise bull-fight scenes in the novel 'Fiesta' for instance. Lawrence almost gets into the minds, such as they are, of the bulls, the horses and somehow squirms into the souls of the crowd in the stadium, through the character Kate.
'The Plumed Serpent' is the deity Quetzalcoatl. There are several Quetzalcoatl poems from the pen of the poet to be savoured. With D H Lawrence it is often a case of what you see you get. When you're in Mexico you get Mexico. But you will always get Lawrence; a poet without a mask, as the University of Nottingham's Professor of English, the late Vivian de Sola Pinto, quite rightly described him.

The Living Quetzalcoatl

I am the Living Quetzalcoatl.
Naked I come from out of the deep
From the place which I call my Father,
Naked have I travelled the long way round
from heaven, past the sleeping sons of God.

Out of the depths of the sky, I came like an eagle.
Out of the bowels of the earth like a snake.

All things that lift in the lift of living between earth and sky, know

But I am the inward star invisible.
And the star is the lamp in the hand of the Unknown Mover.
Beyond me is a Lord who is terrible, and wonderful, and dark to
me forever.
Yet I have lain in his loins, ere he begot me in Mother space.

Now I am alone on earth, and this is mine.
The roots are mine, down the dark, moist path of the snake.
And the branches are mine, in the paths of the sky and the bird,
But the spark of me that is me is more than mine own.

And the feet of men, and the hands of the women know me.
And knees and thighs and loins, and the bowels of strength and seed
are lit with me.
The snake of my left-hand out of the darkness is kissing your feet
with his mouth of caressive fire,
And putting his strength in your heels and ankles, his flame in your
knees and your legs and your loins, his circle of rest in your
For I am Quetzalcoatl, the feathered snake.
And I am not with you till my serpent has coiled his circle of rest in
your belly.
And I, Quetzalcoatl, the eagle of the air, am brushing your faces
with vision.
I am fanning your breasts with my breath.
And building my nest of peace in your bones.
I am Quetzalcoatl, of the Two Ways.

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