On Lawrence’s fine poem about all things green
Was D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) an imagist? He’s well-known as a novelist, slightly less celebrated as a poet and a writer of some truly wonderful short stories. But how should we categorise his poetry? Can he be labelled, and analysed as, ‘imagist’? Here is his fine short poem ‘Green’, which was published in the first anthology of imagist poetry, Des Imagistes, in 1914:
The dawn was apple-green,
The sky was green wine held up in the sun,
The moon was a golden petal between.
She opened her eyes, and green
They shone, clear like flowers undone
For the first time, now for the first time seen. Read the rest of this entry
The best poems of D. H. Lawrence
Although he’s best-known for novels such as Sons and Lovers and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and for short stories such as ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’, D. H. Lawrence was also a prolific poet whose work ranged from formally conventional poems to sprawling free verse influenced by Walt Whitman. What follows is our pick of ten of the greatest poems from Lawrence’s vast oeuvre of poetry.
‘Full Life’. We’ll begin with a very short D. H. Lawrence poem, which runs in its entirety as follows: ‘A man can’t fully live unless he dies and ceases to care, ceases to care.’
‘Green’. Lawrence was most closely associated with the Georgian poets, whose name marked them out as patriotically British (named after the then king, George V) and as formally conventional (their name was also a nod back to the previous ‘Georgian’ era when Romanticism has arrived on the scene in the 1790s). But a number of great D. H. Lawrence poems also featured in the early anthologies of Imagist poetry during the years of the First World War; ‘Green’ is an especially fine example of Lawrence’s poems Read the rest of this entry
A reading of an underrated short story
‘Second Best’, which was first published in 1914, is not among the front rank of D. H. Lawrence’s short stories. Yet its neglect remains puzzling. It is a disturbing and powerful story about growing up and coming to terms with life’s realities, although molophiles (that’s our coinage for fans of moles) may want to look away before reading our summary and analysis of the story. You can read ‘Second Best’ here.
‘Second Best’ is an easy enough story to summarise. Two sisters, Anne (14) and Frances (about 23), are playing in the grass, talking about Frances’ longstanding will-they-won’t-they courtship with Jimmy Barrass, who, we learn now lives in Liverpool and has become a Doctor of Chemistry. While the sisters are talking, they spot a mole in the grass. Anne picks it up, and when it bites her, she strikes it with her sister’s walking-cane, killing it. As the two sisters are walking home, they bump into Tom Smedley, a young man who is fond of Frances. They tell him about the mole they killed, and Tom tells Frances that moles are pests. Frances goes away and kills a mole, taking it to Tom as a gift. Tom is unsettled by this, but agrees to court Frances, and Frances resolves to settle for her ‘second-best’ choice, Tom, abandoning her hopes of marrying Jimmy. Read the rest of this entry