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Friday, 5 April 2013

D. H. Lawrence: Dies Irae


Night gnome: photo by Alex Holden, 31 July 2012

Even the old emotions are finished,
we have worn them out.
And desire is dead.
And the end of all things is inside us.

Our epoch is over,
a cycle of evolution is finished,
our activity has lost its meaning,
we are ghosts, we are seed;
for our word is dead
and we know not how to live wordless.

We live in a vast house
full of inordinate activities,
and the noise, and the stench, and the dreariness and lack of meaning
madden us, but we don't know what to do.
All we can know at this moment
is the fulfilment of nothingness.
Lo, I am nothing!
It is a consummation devoutly to be wished
in this world of mechanical self-assertion.

D. H. Lawrence: Dies Irae, from Pansies, 1929

Facebook HTC joint venture

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announces the launch of a new supercharged version of his social networking product, Facebook Home -- the 'best version of Facebook there is':
photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP, 4 April 2013 (via the Guardian)

Ghost: photo by Alex Holden, 4 August 2012


TC said...

Verdi: Dies Irae (Day of Wrath), from Requiem

More poems by Lawrence:

D. H. Lawrence: Baby Tortoise

D. H. Lawrence: Humming-Bird

D. H. Lawrence: Independence Day (the annual pleasantry)

D. H. Lawrence: Like snake marks on the sand

D. H. Lawrence: Relativity

D. H. Lawrence: Sorrow

D. H. Lawrence: The Grudge of the Old

D. H. Lawrence: To Women, As Far As I'm Concerned

D. H. Lawrence: Whatever Man Makes

Dalriada said...

No way back


Not any day

find me drawn
in starts and fits
begin to

though the mind sways

Moon in the creaky branches

What you see is what you get
yet what you get depends on what you give

Is both the good news
and the bad

Some writers will make me want to respond and write and others just shut me up Lawrence is the of the former (for good or bad)

Dalriada said...

Nora said...

"we are ghosts, we are seed;" Am I wrong to read that with a hint of optimism? (I mean, the seed will grow into something, right?).

Of course, "Dies Irae" doesn't really lend itself to optimism, but isn't any apocalypse also an unveiling? (Like, say, the unveiling of a new smart phone. Oh, I'm not helping my case).

Oh well. There's always this.

Wooden Boy said...

There is something about growth in the word "seed" - an interesting ambiguity. However, what came to my mind was the phrase "gone to seed", a dried up, fruitless profligacy. But then I always was a glass half empty sort.

TC said...

Go to seed (verb):

(of a plant) To pass from flowering or ripening to the formation of seeds.

1911, Jack London, Adventure:

Wild tomatoes, which had gone to seed or been remorselessly hoed out from the beginning of Berande, were foraged for salads, soups, and sauces.

(figuratively, by extension) To deteriorate; to decline into an unkempt or debased condition.  

1898, Eliot Gregory, Worldly Ways and Byways:

But the "frump" will let herself and all her surroundings go to seed, not from humbleness of mind or an overwhelming sense of her own unworthiness, but in pure complacent conceit.

1919, Jerome K. Jerome, All Roads Lead to Calvary:

But suppose I hang about till eighty and die a childish old gentleman with a mind all gone to seed.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

2013, Huuklyeand Cinquor, from Cultivation of Hardy Stocks:

mind you, the seed
that begets, begets
best when scattered.

TC said...

"[The new Facebook] Home isn't a phone or operating system, and it's more than just an app. Home is a completely new experience... [It's] the soul of your phone", Zuckerberg said.

More than ever, humans would be connected, said Zuckerberg. "A lot of the world thinks being connected is frivolous. It's not. It's who we are."

Ay, there's the rub.

O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d
His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on’t! ah fie! ’tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!

Hamlet, I.ii

TC said...

Even the old emotions are finished,
we have worn them out.
And desire is dead.
And the end of all things is inside us.

And we have the new technology.
And the old technology is superceded by the new technology overnight.
We have bought Android.
We are gods.
And all the things we have made have been turned into our offshore bank accounts.
And your suspension of disbelief makes this possible.
And we are connected.
And we are dead.
And we are connected with you.

TC said...

(And as Nora reminds us that the new Facebook reminds us, Horatio thinks he saw a ghost.)

TC said...

(O well, perhaps it was merely a garden gnome that lost its way among the tall apps... for they have gone to seed... those Danish gardeners really do leave something to be desired... even though desire is dead... and by the by, what's that smell of rot wafted upon the night air here in the new virtual Denmark, I wonder? Surely that can't be caused by an ill wind issuing from the software recycling bin at Menlo Park! My heavens! Who wants to be connected up with THAT?!?)

Ed Baker said...

Monsanto has genetically engineered their seed
'stash' (especially corn) and has copyrighted/patented
all of them...

and if any stray seeds happen to blow into someone's
Family Farm

Monsanto sues them out of existence....

pretty soon ALL corn will be Corn Clone or

King Korn Klone

look the same, taste the same, and carry the same
genetically engineered poisons ...

imagine corn that is turned into sugar or into gasoline... and what little is left we feed to the pigs
and the chickens and the cows ...and some of the people who think corn grows in a can
and eat all of that .... c.r.a.p. !

TC said...

That desiccation of the seed is the sort of metaphor Lawrence is invoking here, in his figure he represents his sense of the weakening of the human "stock", in his time.

Anonymous said...

..I like this...especialy this line:
" we know not how to live wordless. "