Verse > D.H. Lawrence > New Poems
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D.H. Lawrence (1885–1930).  New Poems.  1916.

23. Phantasmagoria


RIGID sleeps the house in darkness, I alone 
Like a thing unwarrantable cross the hall 
And climb the stairs to find the group of doors 
Standing angel-stern and tall. 
  
I want my own room’s shelter. But what is this         5
Throng of startled beings suddenly thrown 
In confusion against my entry? Is it only the trees’ 
Large shadows from the outside street lamp blown? 
  
Phantom to phantom leaning; strange women weep 
Aloud, suddenly on my mind  10
Startling a fear unspeakable, as the shuddering wind 
Breaks and sobs in the blind. 
  
So like to women, tall strange women weeping! 
Why continually do they cross the bed? 
Why does my soul contract with unnatural fear?  15
I am listening! Is anything said? 
  
Ever the long black figures swoop by the bed; 
They seem to be beckoning, rushing away, and beckoning. 
Whither then, whither, what is it, say 
What is the reckoning.  20
  
Tall black Bacchae of midnight, why then, why 
Do you rush to assail me? 
Do I intrude on your rites nocturnal? 
What should it avail me? 
  
Is there some great Iacchos of these slopes  25
Suburban dismal? 
Have I profaned some female mystery, orgies 
Black and phantasmal? 


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