Wednesday 13 December 2017

Poetry: A train of feeling

DH Lawrence
DH Lawrence

Ulick O'Connor

It was in this month 100 years ago that DH Lawrence published his book of verse Look! We Have Come Through! in which the poem 'Gloire de Dijon' appears.

It is one of 61 from the book and charts the story of a man who goes off with a married woman, and the love-hate relationship that ensues.

In it, the poet Lawrence sets out his poetic gospel, adding we should not expect to find a plot in the Aristotelian sense, "but simply the development of an intelligible train of feeling". I was lucky enough to have somebody to guide me through this underworld of Lawrence. This was Gordon Campbell (later to become Lord Glenavy) who lived in a mansion in Ticknock and who, after serving as Churchill's private secretary, had come back to throw in his lot with the Irish Government in the newly established Free State.

Lawrence had described his friend Glenavy as "the only one left in England to whom I can talk to openly". This he did with a fine result for all.

Gloire de Dijon

When she rises in the morning

I linger to watch her;

She spreads the bath-cloth underneath the window

And the sunbeams catch her

Glistening white on the shoulders,

While down her sides the mellow

Golden shadow glows as

She stoops to the sponge, and her swung breasts

Sway like full-blown yellow

Gloire de Dijon roses.

She drips herself with water, and her shoulders

Glisten as silver, they crumple up

Like wet and falling roses, and I listen

For the sluicing of their rain-dishevelled petals.

In the window full of sunlight

Concentrates her golden shadow

Fold on fold, until it glows as

Mellow as the glory roses.

DH Lawrence 1885-1930

Indo Review

Promoted Links

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment