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Mosaic Musings...interactive poetry reviews _ Famous Poet Works -> Legendary Libations _ David Herbert Lawrence

Posted by: Arnfinn Feb 23 05, 05:37


At evening, sitting on this terrace,
When the sun from the west, beyond Pisa, beyond the
     mountains of Carrara
Departs, and the world is taken by surprise...

When the tired flower of Florence is in gloom beneath the
Brown hills surrounding...

When under the arches of the Ponte Vecchio
A green light enters against the stream, flush from the west,
Against the current of obscure Arno...
Look up, and you see things flying
Between the day and the night;
Swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows

A circle swoop, and a quick parabola under the bridge
Where light pushes through;
A sudden turning upon itself of a thing in the air.
A dip to the water.

And you think:
'The swallows are flying so late!'


Dark air-life looping
Yet missing the pure loop...
A twiitch, a twitter, an elastic shudder in flight
And serrated wings against the sky,
Like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light,
And falling back,

Never swallows!
The swallows are gone.

At a wavering instant the swallows give way to bats
By the Ponte Vecchio...
Changing guard.

Bats, and an uneasy creeping in one's scalp
As the bats swoop overhead!
Flying madly.
Black piper on an infinitesimal pipe.
Little lumps that fly in the air and have voices indefinite, wildly

Wings like bits of umbrella.


Creatures that hang themselves up like an old rag, to sleep
And disgustingly upside down.
Hanging upside down like rows of disgusting old rags
And grinning in their sleep.

In China the bat is a symbol of happiness.

Not for me!

Posted by: Jox Feb 23 05, 06:12

Arn - well done and thanks for posting this. DH Lawrence is one of my favourite writers. He broke moulds, wrote novels and poetry and was a strange romantic. He's also a local to Perry and my hometowns (Nottingham / Derby). In fact, I sat some of the finals of my degree in the very building in which he taught. His social realism plays / novels are set in my home area and I understand the language very well.

As regards this particular piece, it's a gem. He writes about movement with such great skill.

As regards bats - they are a protected species here... if one has them in one's loft, there they must remain as long as they wish. We had one fella in the bedroom once - caught him in a very big glass jar. I said he was beautiful; he said I was ugly. We disagreed to agree.

Thanks, Arn. James.

Posted by: Arnfinn Feb 24 05, 00:31

Hi James,

It's very strange James, D H doesn't seem to be recognised. Why? He's an individualist, is that not what a poet, novelist, writer, sets out to achieve. Form poetry, if written well, is like music, and certainly is a feather in one's cap to write poetry and understand why the word that is written runs perfect to the intricate form system laid down the English, Italian or foreigners in times of yore. You prove to fellow poets that you understand the basic principals of writing and grammar. For all that, poetry differs from music, an opera singer can learn the scales, get professional coaching and end up at La Scala. Not so with poetry.

Bat, the poem, the opening four lines are simple thoughts of enjoyment, words to describe the countryside near Florence are flung about with gay abandon, wonderful images, reflect the  departure of the sun. Then Florence, the tired flower wilts in the gloom beneath the glowing brown hills.

This a great poem James, the expertise of DH, a few chosen words, a change of scenery, and then the sudden realization that things aren't so good, the change of well-being to a crawling scalp of fear.

Your an interesting and lucky man James, you were fortunate to be brought up in an area that happend to be the same domicile of the famous. Even your education!

Bats (flying foxes) are protected here also. A large colony lived in the upper reaches of a creek, when I was a lad, and visited our fruit orchard quite frequently, when the fruit was in season. They used to make a 'arnek' squeaking noise, and if you were near the trees you would the 'wount-wount' of their rubbery wings.



Posted by: Jox Feb 24 05, 03:55

Hi Arn,

I agree with almost everything which you say. Just a couple of points:

Most Brits certainly used to go away to Uni but I lived at home and travelled daily sixteen miles to the next city (Nottingham) as an undergraduate. As well as DHL it is famous for Robin Hood. But where I live now (150 miles south - Winchester) also has its literary figures - John Keats live here for a brief while (and wrote here). Also, Jane Austin was born in one of the next villages to here and is burried in the Cathedral (along with seven Kings of England - this was England's capital before London). So the place is awash with dead great figures of literature. However, doesn't mean it remains the best now - DHL escaped here because he thought it narrow-minded and sexually repressed. Things have move on vastly since then - vastly since Perry left, too by the sound of it. Poetry is alive and very well in the UK but not popular. Life is so fast that the Video Game generation has little time for it... but there are notable exceptions. My fav British poet is Benjamen Zepaniah - he writes some great stuff.

>>Form poetry, if written well, is like music

It probably is but I never seem to see that, I'm afraid Arn. Mind you, my musical tastes are quite strange (up to 16thCentury plainsong and Tangerine Dream electro music are my favourites).

All the best, James.

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