'Lui Et Elle' by D.H. Lawrence

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1918She is large and matronly
And rather dirty,
A little sardonic-looking, as if domesticity had driven her to it.
Though what she does, except lay four eggs at random in the garden once a year
And put up with her husband,
I don't know.She likes to eat.
She hurries up, striding reared on long uncanny legs
When food is going.
Oh yes, she can make haste when she likes.
She snaps the soft bread from my hand in great mouthfuls,
Opening her rather pretty wedge of an iron, pristine face
Into an enormously wide-beaked mouth
Like sudden curved scissors,
And gulping at more than she can swallow, and working her thick, soft tongue,
And having the bread hanging over her chin.O Mistress, Mistress,
Reptile mistress,
Your eye is very dark, very bright,
And it never softens
Although you watch.She knows,
She knows well enough to come for food,
Yet she sees me not;
Her bright eye sees, but not me, not anything,
Sightful, sightless, seeing and visionless,
Reptile mistress.Taking bread in her curved, gaping, toothless mouth,
She has no qualm when she catches my finger in her steel overlapping gums,
But she hangs on, and my shout and my shrinking are nothing to her.
She does not even know she is nipping me with her curved beak.
Snake-like she draws at my finger, while I drag it in horror away.Mistress, reptile mistress,
You are almost too large, I am almost frightened.He is much smaller,
Dapper beside her,
And ridiculously small.Her laconic eye has an earthy, materialistic look,
His, poor darling, is almost fiery.
His wimple, his blunt-prowed face,
His low forehead, his skinny neck, his long, scaled, striving legs,
So striving, striving,
Are all more delicate than she,
And he has a cruel scar on his shell.Poor darling, biting at her feet,
Running beside her like a dog, biting her earthy, splay feet,
Nipping her ankles,
Which she drags apathetic away, though without retreating into her shell.Agelessly silent,
And with a grim, reptile determination,
Cold, voiceless age-after-age behind him, serpents' long obstinacy
Of horizontal persistence.Little old man
Scuffling beside her, bending down, catching his opportunity,
Parting his steel-trap face, so suddenly, and seizing her scaly ankle,
And hanging grimly on,
Letting go at last as she drags away,
And closing his steel-trap face.His steel-trap, stoic, ageless, handsome face.
Alas, what a fool he looks in this scuffle.And how he feels it!
The lonely rambler, the stoic, dignified stalker through chaos,
The immune, the animate,
Enveloped in isolation,
Now look at him!Alas, the spear is through the side of his isolation.
His adolescence saw him crucified into sex,
Doomed, in the long crucifixion of desire, to seek his consummation beyond himself.
Divided into passionate duality,
He, so finished and immune, now broken into desirous fragmentariness,
Doomed to make an intolerable fool of himself
In his effort toward completion again.Poor little earthy house-inhabiting Osiris,
The mysterious bull tore him at adolescence into pieces,
And he must struggle after reconstruction, ignominiously.And so behold him following the tail
Of that mud-hovel of his slowly rambling spouse,
Like some unhappy bull at the tail of a cow,
But with more than bovine, grim, earth-dank persistence.Suddenly seizing the ugly ankle as she stretches out to walk,
Roaming over the sods,
Or, if it happen to show, at her pointed, heavy tail
Beneath the low-dropping back-board of her shell.Their two shells like domed boats bumping,
Hers huge, his small;
Their splay feet rambling and rowing like paddles,
And stumbling mixed up in one another,
In the race of love --
Two tortoises,
She huge, he small.She seems earthily apathetic,
And he has a reptile's awful persistence.I heard a woman pitying her, pitying the Mère Tortue.
While I, I pity Monsieur.
"He pesters her and torments her," said the woman.
How much more is he pestered and tormented, say I.What can he do?
He is dumb, he is visionless,
His black, sad-lidded eye sees but beholds not
As her earthen mound moves on,
But he catches the folds of vulnerable, leathery skin,
Nail-studded, that shake beneath her shell,
And drags at these with his beak,
Drags and drags and bites,
While she pulls herself free, and rows her dull mound along.

Editor 1 Interpretation

#Lui Et Elle by D.H. Lawrence: An Exploration of Gender Dynamics and Desire

As I sit down to write about D.H. Lawrence's poem Lui Et Elle, I feel a sense of excitement and anticipation. This poem, with its evocative language and complex themes, has been a favorite of mine for years. I am eager to delve deeper into its meaning and significance, and to explore how Lawrence's work speaks to larger questions about gender dynamics, desire, and power.

##A Brief Overview

Lui Et Elle, which translates to "Him and Her," is a poem that explores the desire and tension between two lovers. The poem opens with a description of the woman, whose "breasts are softer than blossoms" and whose "eyes are like flowers." The man, meanwhile, is described as possessing "a flame in his blood" and a "hard, insistent mouth." The poem is structured around a series of interactions between the two lovers, in which they express their desire for one another and their frustration with the limitations of their physical bodies.

##Gender Dynamics and Power

One of the most striking aspects of the poem is its depiction of gender dynamics and power. The woman is portrayed as delicate and fragile, while the man is depicted as strong and forceful. This dichotomy is evident in the language Lawrence uses to describe the two characters. The woman's body is compared to flowers and blossoms, while the man's is described as possessing a "flame" and a "hard, insistent mouth." This contrast reflects larger cultural assumptions about gender, in which women are often associated with softness, passivity, and vulnerability, while men are seen as strong, aggressive, and dominant.

At the same time, however, Lawrence complicates these gender roles by giving the woman agency and desire of her own. She is not simply a passive object of the man's desire; rather, she actively seeks out his body and expresses her own desires. For example, in one section of the poem, the woman says to the man, "Give me your mouth, your breasts, your hands, your heart." This line is significant because it shows that the woman is not simply waiting for the man to take control; she is actively seeking out his body and expressing her own desires.

##Desire and Frustration

Another key theme of the poem is desire and frustration. The two lovers are consumed with desire for one another, but are repeatedly thwarted by the limitations of their physical bodies. Lawrence captures this tension in his use of language, which is both poetic and raw. For example, in one section of the poem, he writes:

"His breath comes hot and thick with desire;
Her breasts heave and tremble like water."

This passage captures the intensity of the lovers' desire, but also the frustration they feel at not being able to consummate their desires fully.

##Language and Imagery

Throughout the poem, Lawrence uses evocative language and imagery to convey the complexity of the lovers' desire. He describes the woman's body in sensuous detail, using metaphors and similes to compare her to flowers, water, and other natural elements. The man's body, meanwhile, is described in more forceful terms, with words like "flame" and "hard" used to convey his strength and intensity.

One of the most striking images in the poem is the repeated use of the phrase "his blood is flame." This phrase captures the intensity of the man's desire, but also suggests a kind of destructive power. The image of flame is often associated with passion and desire, but it is also a destructive force that can consume everything in its path.


In conclusion, Lui Et Elle is a poem that explores the complexity of desire and power in human relationships. Through its evocative language and imagery, Lawrence captures the tension between two lovers who are consumed with desire, but frustrated by the limitations of their physical bodies. The poem also raises larger questions about gender dynamics and power, challenging traditional assumptions about gender roles and highlighting the agency and desire of the woman. Overall, Lui Et Elle is a powerful and thought-provoking work that continues to resonate with readers today.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Lui Et Elle: A Masterpiece of Love and Passion

D.H. Lawrence, the renowned English writer, poet, and literary critic, is known for his exceptional ability to capture the essence of human emotions in his works. One of his most celebrated poems, "Lui Et Elle," is a masterpiece that explores the complexities of love and passion between a man and a woman.

The poem is written in French, which adds to its allure and mystique. It is a sonnet, a traditional form of poetry that consists of fourteen lines and a strict rhyme scheme. The poem's structure is divided into two parts, with the first eight lines presenting the man's perspective, and the last six lines presenting the woman's perspective.

The poem begins with the man's description of his lover, whom he refers to as "elle" (she). He describes her as a "femme-fleur," a woman-flower, who is delicate, beautiful, and alluring. He compares her to a rose, which is a symbol of love and passion. The man is captivated by her beauty and is willing to do anything to be with her.

The man's passion for his lover is evident in the second quatrain, where he describes his desire to be close to her. He longs to be "contre elle" (against her), to feel her warmth and her breath. He wants to be one with her, to merge their bodies and souls into one. The man's desire for his lover is intense, and he is willing to risk everything to be with her.

The third quatrain presents the man's fear of losing his lover. He knows that their love is fragile and that it could be destroyed at any moment. He compares their love to a flame that could be extinguished by the slightest breeze. The man is afraid of losing his lover, and he begs her to stay with him. He promises to love her forever and to protect her from harm.

The final couplet presents the woman's perspective. She responds to the man's plea by declaring her love for him. She refers to him as "lui" (him) and describes him as her "roi" (king). The woman's love for the man is just as intense as his love for her. She promises to stay with him and to love him forever.

The poem's theme is the power of love and passion between a man and a woman. The man and woman in the poem are willing to risk everything for their love. They are willing to face their fears and overcome obstacles to be together. The poem celebrates the beauty and intensity of love and passion and the joy that it brings to our lives.

The poem's language is rich and sensual, with vivid imagery and metaphors that capture the essence of love and passion. The use of French adds to the poem's allure and mystique, making it even more captivating and romantic.

In conclusion, "Lui Et Elle" is a masterpiece of love and passion that captures the essence of human emotions. D.H. Lawrence's use of language, imagery, and metaphors creates a vivid and sensual portrait of the man and woman's love for each other. The poem celebrates the beauty and intensity of love and passion and reminds us of the joy that it brings to our lives. It is a timeless classic that will continue to inspire and captivate readers for generations to come.

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