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Last Words to Miriam

David Herbert Lawrence 1885 (Eastwood, Nottinghamshire) – 1930 (Vence)

Yours is the shame and sorrow,
  But the disgrace is mine;
  Your love was dark and thorough,
  Mine was the love of the sun for a flower
  He creates with his shine.

  I was diligent to explore you,
  Blossom you stalk by stalk,
  Till my fire of creation bore you
  Shrivelling down in the final dour
  Anguish -- then I suffered a balk.

  I knew your pain, and it broke
  My fine, craftsman's nerve;
  Your body quailed at my stroke,
  And my courage failed to give you the last
  Fine torture you did deserve.

  You are shapely, you are adorned,
  But opaque and dull in the flesh,
  Who, had I but pierced with the thorned
  Fire-threshing anguish, were fused and cast
  In a lovely illumined mesh.

  Like a painted window: the best
  Suffering burnt through your flesh,
  Undrossed it and left it blest
  With a quivering sweet wisdom of grace: but now
  Who shall take you afresh?

  Now who will burn you free
  From your body's terrors and dross,
  Since the fire has failed in me?
  What man will stoop in your flesh to plough
  The shrieking cross?

  A mute, nearly beautiful thing
  Is your face, that fills me with shame
  As I see it hardening,
  Warping the perfect image of God,
  And darkening my eternal fame.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:06 min read

David Herbert Lawrence

David Herbert Lawrence was an English writer and poet. His collected works represent, among other things, an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. Lawrence's writing explores issues such as sexuality, emotional health, vitality, spontaneity, and instinct. Lawrence's opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile he called his "savage pilgrimage". At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as "the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation." Later, the literary critic F. R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness. more…

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