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

32. Bitterness of Death


I

AH, stern, cold man,
 
How can you lie so relentless hard 
While I wash you with weeping water! 
Do you set your face against the daughter 
Of life? Can you never discard         5
Your curt pride’s ban? 
  
You masquerader! 
How can you shame to act this part 
Of unswerving indifference to me? 
You want at last, ah me!  10
To break my heart 
Evader! 
  
You know your mouth 
Was always sooner to soften 
Even than your eyes.  15
Now shut it lies 
Relentless, however often 
I kiss it in drouth. 
  
It has no breath 
Nor any relaxing. Where,  20
Where are you, what have you done? 
What is this mouth of stone? 
How did you dare 
Take cover in death! 
  
II

Once you could see,
  25
The white moon show like a breast revealed 
By the slipping shawl of stars. 
Could see the small stars tremble 
As the heart beneath did wield 
Systole, diastole.  30
  
All the lovely macrocosm 
Was woman once to you, 
Bride to your groom. 
No tree in bloom 
But it leaned you a new  35
White bosom. 
  
And always and ever 
Soft as a summering tree 
Unfolds from the sky, for your good, 
Unfolded womanhood;  40
Shedding you down as a tree 
Sheds its flowers on a river. 
  
I saw your brows 
Set like rocks beside a sea of gloom, 
And I shed my very soul down into your thought;  45
Like flowers I fell, to be caught 
On the comforted pool, like bloom 
That leaves the boughs. 
  
III

Oh, masquerader,
 
With a hard face white-enamelled,  50
What are you now? 
Do you care no longer how 
My heart is trammelled, 
Evader? 
  
Is this you, after all,  55
Metallic, obdurate 
With bowels of steel? 
Did you never feel?— 
Cold, insensate, 
Mechanical!  60
  
Ah, no!—you multiform, 
You that I loved, you wonderful, 
You who darkened and shone, 
You were many men in one; 
But never this null  65
This never-warm! 
  
Is this the sum of you? 
Is it all nought? 
Cold, metal-cold? 
Are you all told  70
Here, iron-wrought? 
Is this what’s become of you? 


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