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Shadows, DH Lawrence

My friend Patrick, over in Taiwan, sent me a series of audio lectures by the British thinker Alan Watts. I’ve now listened to hours of Watts talking about Asian philosophies, death and the self.

Yesterday I came again across this poem, by DH Lawrence, and I thought, Patrick, that you (and possibly Alan) might enjoy it. Something similar.

Shadows
D H Lawrence

And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.

And if, as weeks go round, in the dark of the moon
my spirit darkens and goes out, and soft strange gloom
pervades my movements and my thoughts and words
then I shall know that I am walking still
with God, we are close together now the moon’s in shadow.

And if, as autumn deepens and darkens
I feel the pain of falling leaves, and stems that break in storms
and trouble and dissolution and distress
and then the softness of deep shadows folding,
folding around my soul and spirit, around my lips
so sweet, like a swoon, or more like the drowse of a low, sad song
singing darker than the nightingale, on, on to the solstice
and the silence of short days, the silence of the year, the shadow,
then I shall know that my life is moving still
with the dark earth, and drenched
with the deep oblivion of earth’s lapse and renewal.

And if, in the changing phases of man’s life
I fall in sickness and in misery
my wrists seem broken and my heart seems dead
and strength is gone, and my life
is only the leavings of a life:

and still, among it all, snatches of lovely oblivion, and snatches
of renewal
odd, wintry flowers upon the withered stem, yet new, strange flowers
such as my life has not brought forth before, new blossoms of me

then I must know that still
I am in the hands of the unknown God,
he is breaking me down to his own oblivion
to send me forth on a new morning, a new man.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. this one resonates with me. very spiritual.

    April 30, 2008
  2. Glad you liked it Illyria. It’s from his collection, “Last Poems” – I read it’s possibly the last substantial poem he wrote before his death.

    I also really like the Ship of Death:
    http://www.kalliope.org/digt.pl?longdid=lawrence2001061776

    May 2, 2008
  3. Patrick #

    Congrats on finishing the novel. I am eager to get my copy one of these days….
    I loved the poem. It’s a wonderful exploration of how the world is happening in us, through us (rather than outside us, as if on a screen).
    As for other Western dudes who resonate with an Eastern take on reality, Schopenhauer is on the top of (my) list. (See section on “will and desire”…)

    June 6, 2008
    • Hi!
      I like the idea of being “dipped again in God.” Poetry can be a bit like this. To bathe in the currents that come out of God. Ultimate experience! If we read Rumi, the most advanced poet to hit planet earth, we can find out about a chant sound, HU, that allows us to be dipped in God. I have used this for over 30 years. It’s my link to “all life.” The essay in my Sunlight from Another Day (Amazon) also tells of HU. Also! See Harold Klemp’s Past Lives, Dreams and Soul Travel.
      Let me know if you’d like more on poetry or on how to “open the heart to divine love.”
      —all the best, TPB, Sierra College English ~

      December 17, 2011
  4. Prince Adewale Oreshade #

    Fantastic!

    January 7, 2011
  5. sahar #

    hi everybody , can get a summary for this poem??

    September 3, 2011
  6. Peregrine #

    I knew D.H. Lawrence’s work only from his Lady Chatterly’s Lover book. I was surprised to read his poem of Bavarian Gentians and now this one, Shadows. It gives me an entirely different view of him. The poems are beautiful. Classes in high school and college seem to focus on the same writers: Keats, Shelly, Wordsworth, Byron, etc. and I think they should teach a more varied program.

    August 12, 2012
  7. Daniel, I hope you find this reply. I was in search of inspiration for a Holiday message to my lover and companion of the past 37 years. This was to go with an illustration I am creating and a poem from D H Lawrence titled New “Moon”. I came across your message to your friend Patrick along with “Shadows”.
    Last fall I was hospitalized for over 4 weeks and diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and had the surgery to get rid. of this cancer. It is usually a death diagnosis that takes its victims in less that 12 mos after that diagnosis. I scared the hell out of John and was in his care for this past year. It seems I may be a survivor. I have tests every 3 mos and I have been pretty clean. I was very broken when I had went home from the hospital and I had found comfort and peace in leaving life as I knew it to be.
    I have yet to come across anything written that interprets where I have been. There has not been any form of communication to explain these feelings to loved ones either. “Shadows”,This was a very personal find. Thank you

    November 30, 2012
    • Peregrine #

      Have u read the poem The Hound of heaven by Francis Thompson? It is also very spiritual and thought provoking.

      November 30, 2012
  8. my favorite daughter have already been using scrap booking stuffs over time along with she genuinely likes this,.

    November 24, 2013

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