Poetry: A train of feeling
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