Friday, October 31, 2008

Humming-bird, a poem by D.H.Lawrence.

D.H.Lawrence was an English writer who was born in 1885 and died in 1930. His prolific and diverse output included novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, paintings, translations, and literary criticism. His collected works represent an extended reflection on the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization.
He is is perhaps best known for his novels - Sons and Lovers, Women in Love, and Lady Chatterley's Lover. However, Lawrence also wrote almost 800 poems, most of them relatively short. Here is one I particularly like since my garden is full of humming-birds this year.

Humming-bird by D.H.Lawrence.

I can imagine, in some otherworld
Primeval-dumb, far back
In that most awful stillness, that only gasped and hummed,
Humming-birds raced down the avenues.

Before anything had a soul,
While life was a heave of matter, half inanimate,
This little bit chipped off in brilliance
And went whizzing through the slow, vast, succulent stems.

I believe there were no flowers then,
In the world where humming-birds flashed ahead of creation.
I believe he pierced the slow vegetable veins with his long beak.

Probably he was big
As mosses, and little lizards, they say, were once big.
Probably he was a jabbing, terrifying monster.

We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of time,
Luckily for us.

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