'Mystery' by D.H. Lawrence

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Now I am all
One bowl of kisses,
Such as the tall
Slim votaresses
Of Egypt filled
For a God's excesses.I lift to you
My bowl of kisses,
And through the temple's
Blue recesses
Cry out to you
In wild caresses.And to my lips'
Bright crimson rim
The passion slips,
And down my slim
White body drips
The shining hymn.And still before
The altar I
Exult the bowl
Brimful, and cry
To you to stoop
And drink, Most High.Oh drink me up
That I may be
Within your cup
Like a Mystery,
Like wine that is still
In ecstasy.Glimmering still
In ecstasy,
Commingled wines
Of you and me
In One fulfill,...
The Mystery.

Editor 1 Interpretation

A Deep Dive into the Mystery of D.H. Lawrence's Poetry

D.H. Lawrence is known for his controversial and often explicit writing, but his poetry is where his mastery of language and deep philosophical musings truly shine. In his collection Poetry, Mystery, Lawrence explores themes of love, death, nature, and spirituality with a hauntingly beautiful and complex style that leaves readers questioning not only the poem's meaning but also their own understanding of the world around them.

The Importance of Nature as a Muse

One of the recurring themes in Poetry, Mystery is the importance of nature as a source of inspiration and spiritual renewal. In "The Enkindled Spring," Lawrence writes:

Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.
I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.

Lawrence's use of vivid imagery and personification creates a sense of awe and wonder at the power of nature. The "wild puffing of emerald trees" and "flame-filled bushes" evoke the image of a forest on fire, yet the overall effect is one of growth and renewal rather than destruction. This contrast is echoed in the final line, where faces of people "streaming" across the speaker's gaze suggest both movement and stillness, chaos and order.

Similarly, in "The Snake," Lawrence uses the encounter between a man and a snake to explore themes of temptation, desire, and the primal instincts that lie within us all. The poem begins:

A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.

The image of the man in his pyjamas creates a sense of vulnerability and intimacy, as though he is encountering the snake in his own private space. The use of enjambment and fragmented syntax in the opening lines also creates a sense of urgency, as though the encounter is happening in real-time.

As the poem unfolds, the man is tempted by the snake's beauty and primal energy, but ultimately chooses to kill it out of fear and a desire to assert his dominance. The final lines of the poem, however, suggest a deeper regret and a sense of loss:

And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.

The use of the word "immediately" suggests a sudden realization of the man's mistake and a sense of regret that is almost physical in its intensity. The reference to "my accursed human education" also suggests a deeper conflict between our primal instincts and the societal norms and expectations that seek to control them.

Love and Death as Inextricably Linked

Another recurring theme in Poetry, Mystery is the idea that love and death are inextricably linked. In "Bavarian Gentians," Lawrence writes:

Not every man has gentians in his house
in Soft September, at slow, sad Michaelmas.
Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark
darkening the daytime, torch-like, with the smoking blueness of Pluto's
ribbed and torch-like, with their blaze of darkness spread blue
down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day
torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto's dark-blue daze,
black lamps from the halls of Dis, burning dark blue,
giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter's pale lamps give off
lead me then, lead the way.

The use of the color blue, which is traditionally associated with both sadness and passion, creates a sense of emotional intensity and depth. The reference to Pluto, the god of the underworld, suggests a sense of darkness and mystery that is both alluring and terrifying. The repetition of the phrase "torch-like" also creates a sense of illumination and guidance, as though the gentians are leading the speaker towards some greater truth or understanding.

Similarly, in "The Ship of Death," Lawrence writes:

Now it is autumn and the falling fruit
and the long journey towards oblivion.
The apples falling like great drops of dew
to bruise themselves an exit from themselves.
And it is time to go, to bid farewell
to one's own self, and find an exit
from the fallen self.

Here, the metaphor of the falling fruit creates a sense of inevitability and decay, as though death is an unavoidable part of the natural cycle of life. The use of the phrase "fallen self" also suggests a sense of moral decay and the need to shed one's old identity in order to move towards something greater.

The Power of Symbolism

Throughout Poetry, Mystery, Lawrence uses symbolism to create a sense of depth and complexity. In "The Almond Tree," for example, Lawrence writes:

I wonder at the starlings chirping in the sky,
The pert, bronze-coloured starlings, sharp against the blue.
They have flown like this when almond-blossom floated by
And crickets chirruped, in the hot Sicilian noon.
I have forgotten much; but the almond-tree
Not yet, my soul, not yet there stirs in thee
An unwithered hope, a hope unfading,
The still remembrance of a joy long dead,
A fitful, struggling, yet a constant faith,
Strong on the broken reed, strong on the smoking flax,
The soul's last trembling faith.

Here, the almond tree becomes a symbol of hope and renewal, even in the face of death and decay. The reference to "a joy long dead" suggests a sense of nostalgia and lost innocence, while the phrase "strong on the broken reed, strong on the smoking flax" suggests a sense of resilience and strength in the face of adversity.

Similarly, in "The Man Who Died," Lawrence uses the symbol of the cross to explore themes of sacrifice, redemption, and the search for meaning:

Then I saw him lift his head, and begin to rise.
And as he rose, his hands came together
In a last gesture of farewell and of blessing.
And the wonder grew in me, as I watched him rising,
Till he was no more than a speck in the vastness of heaven.
And I knew that we had been wrong, that he was not a man
But a god, and had only seemed a man to mortal eyes.

The use of the cross as a symbol of both sacrifice and transcendence creates a sense of spiritual awe and wonder. The final lines, where the man is revealed to be a god, also suggest a sense of transformation and transcendence that transcends the limits of human understanding.


In Poetry, Mystery, D.H. Lawrence explores some of the deepest questions of the human experience with a masterful use of language, symbolism, and metaphor. Through his exploration of nature, love, death, and spirituality, Lawrence invites readers to question their own understanding of the world around them and to seek a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in life. Whether you are a fan of poetry or simply looking for a thought-provoking read, Poetry, Mystery is a must-read for anyone interested in the power of language to illuminate the mysteries of the human experience.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Poetry Mystery: A Masterpiece by D.H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence, the renowned English writer, is known for his exceptional literary works that explore the complexities of human nature and relationships. Among his many masterpieces, the Poetry Mystery stands out as a unique and intriguing piece of writing that has captivated readers for decades. This enigmatic poem is a perfect example of Lawrence's ability to create a sense of mystery and intrigue that keeps the reader engaged until the very end.

The Poetry Mystery is a short poem that consists of only six stanzas, each containing four lines. Despite its brevity, the poem is packed with symbolism and imagery that requires careful analysis to fully understand. The poem begins with the line, "Somewhere the long mellow note of the blackbird," which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The blackbird is a symbol of freedom and creativity, and its song represents the beauty and power of poetry.

The second stanza of the poem introduces a mysterious figure known as the "Poet." The Poet is described as a "strange, sad, visionary man" who is "haunted by the beauty of beautiful things." This description suggests that the Poet is a deeply sensitive and emotional person who is deeply affected by the world around him. The use of the word "haunted" also implies that the Poet is tormented by his own creativity and the beauty he sees in the world.

The third stanza of the poem introduces another mysterious figure known as the "Maiden." The Maiden is described as a "fair, frail, delicate creature" who is "enchanted by the magic of beautiful things." This description suggests that the Maiden is also a deeply sensitive and emotional person who is deeply affected by the world around her. The use of the word "enchanted" also implies that the Maiden is under the spell of the beauty she sees in the world.

The fourth stanza of the poem introduces the central mystery of the poem. The Poet and the Maiden are described as being "bound by a spell" that prevents them from expressing their love for each other. The use of the word "spell" suggests that there is some kind of supernatural force at work that is keeping the Poet and the Maiden apart. This creates a sense of tension and intrigue that keeps the reader engaged.

The fifth stanza of the poem describes the Poet's attempts to break the spell that is keeping him and the Maiden apart. He tries to "sing a song of love" that will break the spell and allow him to express his love for the Maiden. However, his efforts are in vain, and the spell remains unbroken. This creates a sense of frustration and sadness that is palpable in the poem.

The final stanza of the poem brings the story to a close. The Poet and the Maiden are described as being "lost in the mists of time" and "forever apart." This suggests that the spell that was keeping them apart was too powerful to be broken, and they were doomed to be separated forever. The use of the word "lost" also implies that the Poet and the Maiden were never meant to be together in the first place, and their love was doomed from the start.

Overall, the Poetry Mystery is a masterpiece of symbolism and imagery that explores the complexities of love and creativity. The use of the blackbird as a symbol of poetry and the Poet and the Maiden as symbols of creativity and sensitivity creates a sense of depth and meaning that is rare in modern poetry. The central mystery of the poem, the spell that is keeping the Poet and the Maiden apart, creates a sense of tension and intrigue that keeps the reader engaged until the very end.

In conclusion, the Poetry Mystery is a must-read for anyone who appreciates the beauty and power of poetry. D.H. Lawrence's ability to create a sense of mystery and intrigue is on full display in this enigmatic poem, and his use of symbolism and imagery is masterful. The poem is a testament to Lawrence's skill as a writer and his ability to explore the complexities of human nature and relationships.

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