Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Monday, 25 February 2013

D. H. Lawrence: Relativity


Moon anomaly. Weird thing seen under the moon: photo by Alex Holden, 11 October 2010

I like relativity and quantum theories
because I don't understand them
and they make me feel as if space shifted about like a swan that can't settle,
refusing to sit still and be measured;
and as if the atom were an impulsive thing
always changing its mind.

D. H. Lawrence: Relativity, from Pansies (1929)


Nora said...

That is gorgeous.

Wooden Boy said...

Only Lawrence could be this honest.
All those popular science books knocking about these days have filled the pubs with soi-disant scientists.

"...a swan that can't settle" - great simile.

Anonymous said...

the fascination for the misterious...!

Anonymous said...

.a swan that can't settle" - great simile....yes!!

TC said...

Well, it would be a great relief to think the soi-disant scientists go to a pub every now and again.

Perhaps it's a kind of pseudo-social experience for them, letting down the text-messaging armature, rubbing the mechano-antennae together and all that.

I am reminded of a Russell Edson line, "He tipped his head back and poured his drink into it".

That swan simile, utter genius, makes a perfect poem of what some might say "sounds like prose".

Though how could they say that, as of course they would not be looking.

It's so curious about Lawrence. One can post any number of absolutely first-rate poems of his -- like this one -- without attracting any interest whatsoever from those born-this-morning scenemakers who subscribe to the latest version of the constantly-shapeshifting Pomo Canon.

(He's totally anathema there, of course. In fact, when something's left off all the approved-subscription lists long enough, it gets to be a bit like the sound of that infamous tree falling in the forest -- did it ever really happen, since no one was there to hear it?)

Several decades back, when the present "Avant" crowd was still eagerly awaiting their chance at conquest and tenure, I recall being in a room with one of the leading lights of the pack, talking with another person about Lawrence -- The Rainbow, it was -- and the conversation caused the leading light to rise up in alarm and distress, and leave the room. (A great relief that was, looking back.)

So if you ever want a place to communicate in private, in full certainty your words will never be seen by the fakers who have taken over the dead hulk of what was once an art form, just check the index under D. H. Lawrence.

(More such secret-sharer assignation-stations may well be available here soon.)

kent said...


We'll take all assignments KTOM signal kan konkokt.

Motor City still loves what you got,


TC said...

Always great to hear from you, Kent, reminds me spring can't be all that far away.

Time to pull down those dusty similes from the top shelf of the old closet, like Fibber McGee.

Or like Miggy, watching that moonshot sail up, up, and away, over the roof of Frenchy's -- like hitching a ride on the back of a migrating wild swan.

Unknown said...

guilt or the admission of a sepia tones nostalgia is making me want to return the dh book you loaned me to the dead letter office as a meditation on distance incubating a fractured friendship. some one has to be down there for our souls!

TC said...


Distance happens, and of course we are always like atoms, changing what we think are our minds -- but some things do remain constant, and the long chain of fractures here, since last we communed, has never included any sense of a break with you.

Intermission merely.

(And for heavens sake, don't commit Lawrence to Dead Letters. He's still very much alive for me... and our address remains the same, and will do so until the oven doors close... and probably even beyond then, for that matter.)