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D.H. Lawrence: Terra Incognita

There are vast realms of consciousness still undreamed of
vast ranges of experience, like the humming of unseen harps,
we know nothing of, within us.
Oh when man has escaped from the barbed-wire entanglement
of his own ideas and his own mechanical devices
there is a marvelous rich world of contact and sheer fluid beauty
and fearless face-to-face awareness of now-naked life
and me, and you, and other men and women
and grapes, and ghouls, and ghosts and green moonlight
and ruddy-orange limbs stirring the limbo
of the unknown air, and eyes so soft
softer than the space between the stars,
and all things, and nothing, and being and not-being
alternately palpitant,
when at last we escape the barbed-wire enclosure
of Know Thyself, knowing we can never know,
we can but touch, and wonder, and ponder, and make our effort
and dangle in a last fastidious fine delight
as the fuchsia does, dangling her reckless drop
of purple after so much putting forth
and slow mounting marvel of a little tree.

Public Domain

David Herbert Lawrence (1885 – 1930) was an English writer and poet. His collected works represent, among other things, an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. Lawrence’s writing explores issues such as sexuality, emotional health, vitality, spontaneity, and instinct. Lawrence’s opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile he called his “savage pilgrimage”. At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as “the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.” Later, the literary critic F. R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness.

11 comments on “D.H. Lawrence: Terra Incognita

  1. edisonmarshalljenningsgmailcom
    December 16, 2022

    “Man is an instrument over which a series of external and internal impressions are driven, like the alternations of an ever-changing wind over an Aeolian lyre, which move it by their motion to ever-changing melody,” Percy Byshee Shelly, “A Defense of Poetry.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      December 16, 2022

      Lovely! Thanks, Edison!



      • edisonmarshalljenningsgmailcom
        December 16, 2022

        Bysshe, not Byshee, I’m a dingdong. But it is a pretty odd middle name, and very English.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike Schneider
    December 16, 2022

    Harps within us, yes . . . Lawrence drew on a familiar romantic trope (i.e., the British romantic poets, Shelley, etc.):

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loranneke
    December 16, 2022

    Wow and thank you! “Like the humming of unseen harps,
    we know nothing of, within us.” Isn’t that what we try to translate when we write our darn poems?!


  4. Saleh Razzouk
    December 16, 2022

    Lawrence paid a price of wrong doings in his life. He fled with the wife of his tutor and that was enough to awake the devil.
    His vision was repeated over and over in Jibran Khalil Jibran, and one can trace his love songs back to the song of songs – the Torah – Mr. Peter Preston wrote on this in a French Journal as far as i remember.
    I think every exceptional writer is very much like a prophet, must have difficulties with his surrounding.
    On 1984 he was allowed again in his birth place Nottingham. Luckily i was there and had a chance to visit the ceremony.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      December 16, 2022

      Saleh, how nice to hear from you. What you say about Lawrence is very interesting. I didn’t know you lived in England.


      • Saleh Razzouk
        December 16, 2022

        I did not know he wrote free verse either.
        His New Poems were rhymed with deeply romantic sensetivity.
        He was an early example of using sounds in his fiction to denote emphasis or to generate meaning..

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 16, 2022 by in Poetry, spirituality and tagged , .

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