NPM: On the Balcony

You know, I always forget that D. H. Lawrence is a poet. Best known for his controversial novels, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, Sons and Loversetc., he was also an essayist, critic, and poet. I hear more and more from writers around the blogosphere that writers who are also academics can’t write wonderful, moving novels, as though the critical rigor embraced by the academy kills the soul of art and the artist. Which is pure idiocy. Evidence: Lawrence.

I love this poem, which captures the evanescent nature of life as opposed to the eternal nature of love. I am also touched by the implication that the only thing you can really have is love, that all else eventually fades. I also love how he tells “the story” of the poem primarily through an emphasis on setting. It’s pretty unique. Anyway,  let me know what you think.

On the Balcony
by D. H. Lawrence

In front of the sombre mountains, a faint, lost ribbon of rainbows;
And between us and it, the thunder;
And down below in the green wheat, the labourers
Stand like dark stumps, still in the green wheat

You are near to me, and your naked feet in their sandals,
And through the scent of the balcony’s naked timber
I distinguish the scent of your hair: so now the limber
Lightning falls from heaven.

Adown the pale-green glacier river floats
A dark boat through the gloom-and wither.
The thunder roars. But still we have each other!
And disappear–what have we but each other?
The boat has gone.


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