D. H. Lawrence
From LOVE POEMS: Lightning
David Herbert Lawrence, novelist, short-story writer, and poet, was born in Nottinghamshire, England, in 1885. Very prolific and best known for his novels, Lawrence’s first published works were poems in 1909. He believed in writing poetry that was immediate, stark and true to the mysterious inner force within in which motivated it.
“Sorrow” is a Lawrence poem which was written in the process of grieving for his mother. It is touching and conflicting in that it expresses not only emotions of sorrow but emotions of gaiety.
“I should find, for a reprimand
To my gaiety, a few long grey hairs
On the breast of my coat; and one by one
I watched them float up the dark chimney.”
The memory of his mother dying would haunt Lawrence for years. His image of a stream of smoke floating up from a cigarette is like the slow burn of a cigarette compared to the slow death of his mother.
In “Lightning” Lawrence uses nature to repeat his feelings of sadness and rage incorporated by the rain and thunder. Young love in all its heightened emotions is captured in complex feelings and insecurities.
“I leaned me forward to find her lips,
And claim her utterly in a kiss,
When the lightning flew across her face,
And I saw her for the flaring space
Of a second, afraid of the clips
Of my arms, inert with dread, wilted in fear of my kiss.”
Lawrence uses the word “dumb” twice in the poem, once in reference to the woman’s silent cry and then in describing his own silence and stupidity. Dumb is a word often used to describe puberty because our bodies speak without words.
“Pale love lost in a snow of fear.”
D. H. Lawrence