Wednesday 7 December 2016

Hats off to poety of DH Lawrence

Ulick O'Connor

Published 31/01/2016 | 02:30

DH Lawrence
DH Lawrence

It's interesting that DH Lawrence should have written a religious poem such as the marvellous one below, Shadows, in which he declares his dependence on a Creator. Some of Lawrence's novels had been had been found to be pornographic and he had been before the courts for mounting an exhibition of his art which had been judged indecent. However, he is out in front today with novels such as Sons and Lovers, Women in Love and Lady Chatterley's Lover.

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EM Forster, himself a master of the craft, wrote of Lawrence as: "The greatest imaginative novelist of our generation".

Lawrence himself would have preferred to be remembered for his poetry rather than his prose. He wrote many books of verse, as much as Yeats, Eliot or Dylan Thomas. But by some failure of communication, his poetry is not well known.

I knew someone once who stole Lawrence's hat. This was the wonderful Dublin writer Patrick Cambpell (Lord Glenavy, when he was at home), who later became one of the best-known TV stars with his show Call my Bluff on the BBC. The Campbell family lived in the Rathfarnham hills but spent a lot of time going back and forth to London. His mother, Lady Glenavy, once told me that when Paddy was three, Lawrence was staying in their London house and had lost his straw hat. She found her little son in the hall with a guilty look on his face. He pointed to a cupboard under the stairs where it lay beneath some coats and said, "I hided his hat here".

from Shadows

And if tonight my soul may find her peace

in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,

and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower

then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.

then I shall know that my life is moving still

with the dark earth, and drenched

with the deep oblivion of earth's lapse and renewal.

then I must know that still

I am in the hands of the unknown God,

he is breaking me down to his own oblivion

to send me forth on a new morning, a new man.

DH Lawrence 1885-1930

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