Coldness in Love

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And you remember, in the afternoon
The sea and the sky went grey, as if there had sunk
A flocculent dust on the floor of the world: the festoon
Of the sky sagged dusty as spider cloth,
And coldness clogged the sea, till it ceased to croon.

A dank, sickening scent came up from the grime
Of weed that blackened the shore, so that I recoiled
Feeling the raw cold dun me: and all the time
You leapt about on the slippery rocks, and threw
Me words that rang with a brassy, shallow chime.

And all day long, that raw and ancient cold
Deadened me through, till the grey downs dulled to sleep.
Then I longed for you with your mantle of love to fold
Me over, and drive from out of my body the deep
Cold that had sunk to my soul, and there kept hold.

But still to me all evening long you were cold,
And I was numb with a bitter, deathly ache;
Till old days drew me back into their fold,
And dim hopes crowded me warm with companionship,
And memories clustered me close, and sleep was cajoled.

And I slept till dawn at the window blew in like dust,
Like a linty, raw-cold dust disturbed from the floor
Of the unswept sea; a grey pale light like must
That settled upon my face and hands till it seemed
To flourish there, as pale mould blooms on a crust.

And I rose in fear, needing you fearfully.
For I thought you were warm as a sudden jet of blood.
I thought I could plunge in your living hotness, and be
Clean of the cold and the must. With my hand on the latch
I heard you in your sleep speak strangely to me.

And I dared not enter, feeling suddenly dismayed.
So I went and washed my deadened flesh in the sea
And came back tingling clean, but worn and frayed
With cold, like the shell of the moon; and strange it seems
That my love can dawn in warmth again, unafraid.

D.H.Lawrence 

 I have such admiration for D.H.Lawrence generally but the abject brilliance, in describing the sky sagging as “dusty spider cloth” is beyond perfect.
Honestly. What a man. To me, this entire poem personifies the best of grey: the light, the emotion; and the moon, its opalescence like pearl mother.
This poem fits everything about my frame of mind (and our own sky today) and if I had a tweed cape, I would fasten it tightly with
a massive silver pin and wander moodily out across the moors till my cheeks were numb (and attractively flushed) and my heart full.
As it is?
I’m just off to work.

ps  Oh, in case like me you were a little unsure about “flocculent?” The Oxford dictionary says: having or resembling tufts of wool, as in ‘the first snows of winter lay thick and flocculent.’

Piano – D.H.Lawrence

 

Piano

As the snows swirls sideways across my window, I re-read this poem and fall in love with D.H.Lawrence all over again. I feel as though his poetry is not celebrated as much as his so-called “dirty books” but to me, the poems are heady scraps of wisdom and depth, showing what a sensitive, insightful and thoughtful person he really was.

This poem is especially poignant to me because as a very young child, I remember crouching at the top of the stairs, hours after I had been sent to bed and straining my ears to catch what my parents and their friends (probably slightly tipsy) were singing as my mother played our stylin’, state-of-the-art Sixties organ and everyone sang along. Continue reading