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Best Famous David Herbert Lawrence Poems

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Written by David Herbert Lawrence |


 The hoar-frost crumbles in the sun, 
The crisping steam of a train 
Melts in the air, while two black birds 
Sweep past the window again.
Along the vacant road, a red Bicycle approaches; I wait In a thaw of anxiety, for the boy To leap down at our gate.
He has passed us by; but is it Relief that starts in my breast? Or a deeper bruise of knowing that still She has no rest.

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |


 She bade me follow to her garden where 
The mellow sunlight stood as in a cup 
Between the old grey walls; I did not dare 
To raise my face, I did not dare look up 
Lest her bright eyes like sparrows should fly in 
My windows of discovery and shrill 'Sin!' 

So with a downcast mien and laughing voice 
I followed, followed the swing of her white dress 
That rocked in a lilt along: I watched the poise 
Of her feet as they flew for a space, then paused to press 
The grass deep down with the royal burden of her: 
And gladly I'd offered my breast to the tread of her.
'I like to see,' she said, and she crouched her down, She sunk into my sight like a settling bird; And her bosom crouched in the confines of her gown Like heavy birds at rest there, softly stirred By her measured breaths: 'I like to see,' said she, 'The snap-dragon put out his tongue at me.
' She laughed, she reached her hand out to the flower Closing its crimson throat: my own throat in her power Strangled, my heart swelled up so full As if it would burst its wineskin in my throat, Choke me in my own crimson; I watched her pull The gorge of the gaping flower, till the blood did float Over my eyes and I was blind -- Her large brown hand stretched over The windows of my mind, And in the dark I did discover Things I was out to find: My grail, a brown bowl twined With swollen veins that met in the wrist, Under whose brown the amethyst I longed to taste: and I longed to turn My heart's red measure in her cup, I longed to feel my hot blood burn With the lambent amethyst in her cup.
Then suddenly she looked up And I was blind in a tawny-gold day Till she took her eyes away.

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |


 The earth again like a ship steams out of the dark sea over
The edge of the blue, and the sun stands up to see us glide
Slowly into another day; slowly the rover 
Vessel of darkness takes the rising tide.
I, on the deck, am startled by this dawn confronting Me who am issued amazed from the darkness, stripped And quailing here in the sunshine, delivered from haunting The night unsounded whereon our days are shipped.
Feeling myself undawning, the day’s light playing upon me, I who am substance of shadow, I all compact Of the stuff of the night, finding myself all wrongly Among the crowds of things in the sunshine jostled and racked.
I with the night on my lips, I sigh with the silence of death; And what do I care though the very stones should cry me unreal, though the clouds Shine in conceit of substance upon me, who am less than the rain.
Do I know the darkness within them? What are they but shrouds? The clouds go down the sky with a wealthy ease Casting a shadow of scorn upon me for my share in death; but I Hold my own in the midst of them, darkling, defy The whole of the day to extinguish the shadow I lift on the breeze.
Yea, though the very clouds have vantage over me, Enjoying their glancing flight, though my love is dead, I still am not homeless here, I’ve a tent by day Of darkness where she sleeps on her perfect bed.
And I know the host, the minute sparkling of darkness Which vibrates untouched and virile through the grandeur of night, But which, when dawn crows challenge, assaulting the vivid motes Of living darkness, bursts fretfully, and is bright: Runs like a fretted arc-lamp into light, Stirred by conflict to shining, which else Were dark and whole with the night.
Runs to a fret of speed like a racing wheel, Which else were aslumber along with the whole Of the dark, swinging rhythmic instead of a-reel.
Is chafed to anger, bursts into rage like thunder; Which else were a silent grasp that held the heavens Arrested, beating thick with wonder.
Leaps like a fountain of blue sparks leaping In a jet from out of obscurity, Which erst was darkness sleeping.
Runs into streams of bright blue drops, Water and stones and stars, and myriads Of twin-blue eyes, and crops Of floury grain, and all the hosts of day, All lovely hosts of ripples caused by fretting The Darkness into play.

More great poems below...

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |

A Sane Revolution

 If you make a revolution, make it for fun,
don't make it in ghastly seriousness,
don't do it in deadly earnest,
do it for fun.
Don't do it because you hate people, do it just to spit in their eye.
Don't do it for the money, do it and be damned to the money.
Don't do it for equality, do it because we've got too much equality and it would be fun to upset the apple-cart and see which way the apples would go a-rolling.
Don't do it for the working classes.
Do it so that we can all of us be little aristocracies on our own and kick our heels like jolly escaped asses.
Don't do it, anyhow, for international Labour.
Labour is the one thing a man has had too much of.
Let's abolish labour, let's have done with labouring! Work can be fun, and men can enjoy it; then it's not labour.
Let's have it so! Let's make a revolution for fun!

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |

Discord in Childhood

 Outside the house an ash-tree hung its terrible whips,
And at night when the wind arose, the lash of the tree 
Shrieked and slashed the wind, as a ship’s 
Weird rigging in a storm shrieks hideously.
Within the house two voices arose in anger, a slender lash Whistling delirious rage, and the dreadful sound Of a thick lash booming and bruising, until it drowned The other voice in a silence of blood, ’neath the noise of the ash.

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |


 Since I lost you I am silence-haunted,
Sounds wave their little wings 
A moment, then in weariness settle
On the flood that soundless swings.
Whether the people in the street Like pattering ripples go by, Or whether the theatre sighs and sighs With a loud, hoarse sigh: Or the wind shakes a ravel of light Over the dead-black river, Or night’s last echoing Makes the daybreak shiver: I feel the silence waiting To take them all up again In its vast completeness, enfolding The sound of men.

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |

The White Horse

 The youth walks up to the white horse, to put its halter on
and the horse looks at him in silence.
They are so silent, they are in another world.

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |

Whales Weep Not!

 They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains
the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.
All the whales in the wider deeps, hot are they, as they urge on and on, and dive beneath the icebergs.
The right whales, the sperm-whales, the hammer-heads, the killers there they blow, there they blow, hot wild white breath out of the sea! And they rock, and they rock, through the sensual ageless ages on the depths of the seven seas, and through the salt they reel with drunk delight and in the tropics tremble they with love and roll with massive, strong desire, like gods.
Then the great bull lies up against his bride in the blue deep bed of the sea, as mountain pressing on mountain, in the zest of life: and out of the inward roaring of the inner red ocean of whale-blood the long tip reaches strong, intense, like the maelstrom-tip, and comes to rest in the clasp and the soft, wild clutch of a she-whale's fathomless body.
And over the bridge of the whale's strong phallus, linking the wonder of whales the burning archangels under the sea keep passing, back and forth, keep passing, archangels of bliss from him to her, from her to him, great Cherubim that wait on whales in mid-ocean, suspended in the waves of the sea great heaven of whales in the waters, old hierarchies.
And enormous mother whales lie dreaming suckling their whale- tender young and dreaming with strange whale eyes wide open in the waters of the beginning and the end.
And bull-whales gather their women and whale-calves in a ring when danger threatens, on the surface of the ceaseless flood and range themselves like great fierce Seraphim facing the threat encircling their huddled monsters of love.
And all this happens in the sea, in the salt where God is also love, but without words: and Aphrodite is the wife of whales most happy, happy she! and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea.

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |


 Butterfly, the wind blows sea-ward, 
 strong beyond the garden-wall!
Butterfly, why do you settle on my
 shoe, and sip the dirt on my shoe, 
Lifting your veined wings, lifting them?
 big white butterfly!

Already it is October, and the wind
 blows strong to the sea
from the hills where snow must have 
 fallen, the wind is polished with 
Here in the garden, with red geraniums, it is warm, it is warm but the wind blows strong to sea-ward, white butterfly, content on my shoe! Will you go, will you go from my warm house? Will you climb on your big soft wings, black-dotted, as up an invisible rainbow, an arch till the wind slides you sheer from the arch-crest and in a strange level fluttering you go out to sea-ward, white speck!

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |


 Always, sweetheart,
Carry into your room the blossoming boughs of cherry,
Almond and apple and pear diffuse with light, that very
Soon strews itself on the floor; and keep the radiance of spring
Fresh quivering; keep the sunny-swift March-days waiting
In a little throng at your door, and admit the one who is plaiting
Her hair for womanhood, and play awhile with her, then bid her depart.
A come and go of March-day loves Through the flower-vine, trailing screen; A fluttering in of doves.
Then a launch abroad of shrinking doves Over the waste where no hope is seen Of open hands: Dance in and out Small-bosomed girls of the spring of love, With a bubble of laughter, and shrilly shout Of mirth; then the dripping of tears on your glove.

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |

Worm Either Way

 If you live along with all the other people 
and are just like them, and conform, and are nice 
you're just a worm -- 

and if you live with all the other people 
and you don't like them and won't be like them and won't conform 
then you're just the worm that has turned, 
in either case, a worm.
The conforming worm stays just inside the skin respectably unseen, and cheerfully gnaws away at the heart of life, making it all rotten inside.
The unconforming worm -- that is, the worm that has turned -- gnaws just the same, gnawing the substance out of life, but he insists on gnawing a little hole in the social epidermis and poking his head out and waving himself and saying: Look at me, I am not respectable, I do all the things the bourgeois daren't do, I booze and fornicate and use foul language and despise your honest man.
-- But why should the worm that has turned protest so much? The bonnie bonnie bourgeois goes a-whoring up back streets just the same.
The busy busy bourgeois imbibes his little share just the same if not more.
The pretty pretty bourgeois pinks his language just as pink if not pinker, and in private boasts his exploits even louder, if you ask me, than the other.
While as to honesty, Oh look where the money lies! So I can't see where the worm that has turned puts anything over the worm that is too cunning to turn.
On the contrary, he merely gives himself away.
The turned worm shouts.
I bravely booze! the other says.
Have one with me! The turned worm boasts: I copulate! the unturned says: You look it.
You're a d----- b----- b----- p----- bb-----, says the worm that's turned.
Quite! says the other.

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |

Monologue of a Mother

 This is the last of all, this is the last!
I must hold my hands, and turn my face to the fire, 
I must watch my dead days fusing together in dross, 
Shape after shape, and scene after scene from my past
Fusing to one dead mass in the sinking fire
Where the ash on the dying coals grows swiftly, like heavy moss.
Strange he is, my son, whom I have awaited like a loyer, Strange to me like a captive in a foreign country, haunting The confines and gazing out on the land where the wind is free; White and gaunt, with wistful eyes that hover Always on the distance, as if his soul were chaunting The monotonous weird of departure away from me.
Like a strange white bird blown out of the frozen seas, Like a bird from the far north blown with a broken wing Into our sooty garden, he drags and beats From place to place perpetually, seeking release From me, from the hand of my love which creeps up, needing His happiness, whilst he in displeasure retreats.
I must look away from him, for my faded eyes Like a cringing dog at his heels offend him now, Like a toothless hound pursuing him with my will, Till he chafes at my crouching persistence, and a sharp spark flies In my soul from under the sudden frown of his brow, As he blenches and turns away, and my heart stands still.
This is the last, it will not be any more.
All my life I have borne the burden of myself, All the long years of sitting in my husband’s house, Never have I said to myself as he closed the door: “Now I am caught!—You are hopelessly lost, O Self, You are frightened with joy, my heart, like a frightened mouse.
” Three times have I offered myself, three times rejected.
It will not be any more.
No more, my son, my son! Never to know the glad freedom of obedience, since long ago The angel of childhood kissed me and went.
I expected Another would take me,—and now, my son, O my son, I must sit awhile and wait, and never know The loss of myself, till death comes, who cannot fail.
Death, in whose service is nothing of gladness, takes me: For the lips and the eyes of God are behind a veil.
And the thought of the lipless voice of the Father shakes me With fear, and fills my eyes with the tears of desire, And my heart rebels with anguish as night draws nigher.

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |

Tortoise Family Connections

 On he goes, the little one,
Bud of the universe,
Pediment of life.
Setting off somewhere, apparently.
Whither away, brisk egg? His mother deposited him on the soil as if he were no more than droppings, And now he scuffles tinily past her as if she were an old rusty tin.
A mere obstacle, He veers round the slow great mound of her -- Tortoises always foresee obstacles.
It is no use my saying to him in an emotional voice: "This is your Mother, she laid you when you were an egg.
" He does not even trouble to answer: "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" He wearily looks the other way, And she even more wearily looks another way still, Each with the utmost apathy, Incognisant, Unaware, Nothing.
As for papa, He snaps when I offer him his offspring, Just as he snaps when I poke a bit of stick at him, Because he is irascible this morning, an irascible tortoise Being touched with love, and devoid of fatherliness.
Father and mother, And three little brothers, And all rambling aimless, like little perambulating pebbles scattered in the garden, Not knowing each other from bits of earth or old tins.
Except that papa and mama are old acquaintances, of course, Though family feeling there is none, not even the beginnings.
Fatherless, motherless, brotherless, sisterless Little tortoise.
Row on then, small pebble, Over the clods of the autumn, wind-chilled sunshine, Young gaiety.
Does he look for a companion? No, no, don't think it.
He doesn't know he is alone; Isolation is his birthright, This atom.
To row forward, and reach himself tall on spiny toes, To travel, to burrow into a little loose earth, afraid of the night, To crop a little substance, To move, and to be quite sure that he is moving: Basta! To be a tortoise! Think of it, in a garden of inert clods A brisk, brindled little tortoise, all to himself -- Adam! In a garden of pebbles and insects To roam, and feel the slow heart beat Tortoise-wise, the first bell sounding From the warm blood, in the dark-creation morning.
Moving, and being himself, Slow, and unquestioned, And inordinately there, O stoic! Wandering in the slow triumph of his own existence, Ringing the soundless bell of his presence in chaos, And biting the frail grass arrogantly, Decidedly arrogantly.

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |

Week-Night Service

 The five old bells
Are hurrying and eagerly calling, 
Imploring, protesting 
They know, but clamorously falling 
Into gabbling incoherence, never resting,
Like spattering showers from a bursten sky-rocket dropping
In splashes of sound, endlessly, never stopping.
The silver moon That somebody has spun so high To settle the question, yes or no, has caught In the net of the night’s balloon, And sits with a smooth bland smile up there in the sky Smiling at naught, Unless the winking star that keeps her company Makes little jests at the bells’ insanity, As if he knew aught! The patient Night Sits indifferent, hugged in her rags, She neither knows nor cares Why the old church sobs and brags; The light distresses her eyes, and tears Her old blue cloak, as she crouches and covers her face, Smiling, perhaps, if we knew it, at the bells’ loud clattering disgrace.
The wise old trees Drop their leaves with a faint, sharp hiss of contempt, While a car at the end of the street goes by with a laugh; As by degrees The poor bells cease, and the Night is exempt, And the stars can chaff The ironic moon at their ease, while the dim old church Is peopled with shadows and sounds and ghosts that lurch In its cenotaph.

Written by David Herbert Lawrence |

The Mystic Blue

 Out of the darkness, fretted sometimes in its sleeping,
Jets of sparks in fountains of blue come leaping
To sight, revealing a secret, numberless secrets keeping.
Sometimes the darkness trapped within a wheel Runs into speed like a dream, the blue of the steel Showing the rocking darkness now a-reel.
And out of the invisible, streams of bright blue drops Rain from the showery heavens, and bright blue crops Surge from the under-dark to their ladder-tops.
And all the manifold blue and joyous eyes, The rainbow arching over in the skies, New sparks of wonder opening in surprise.
All these pure things come foam and spray of the sea Of Darkness abundant, which shaken mysteriously, Breaks into dazzle of living, as dolphins that leap from the sea Of midnight shake it to fire, so the secret of death we see.