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D.H. Lawrence (1885–1930). Amores. 1916.

11. Dreams Old and Nascent


MY world is a painted fresco, where coloured shapes

Of old, ineffectual lives linger blurred and warm;

An endless tapestry the past has women drapes

The halls of my life, compelling my soul to conform.

The surface of dreams is broken,

The picture of the past is shaken and scattered.

Fluent, active figures of men pass along the railway, and I am woken

From the dreams that the distance flattered.

Along the railway, active figures of men.

They have a secret that stirs in their limbs as they move

Out of the distance, nearer, commanding my dreamy world.

Here in the subtle, rounded flesh

Beats the active ecstasy.

In the sudden lifting my eyes, it is clearer,

The fascination of the quick, restless Creator moving through the mesh

Of men, vibrating in ecstasy through the rounded flesh.

Oh my boys, bending over your books,

In you is trembling and fusing

The creation of a new-patterned dream, dream of a generation:

And I watch to see the Creator, the power that patterns the dream.

The old dreams are beautiful, beloved, soft-toned, and sure,

But the dream-stuff is molten and moving mysteriously,

Alluring my eyes; for I, am I not also dream-stuff,

Am I not quickening, diffusing myself in the pattern, shaping and shapen?

Here in my class is the answer for the great yearning:

Eyes where I can watch the swim of old dreams reflected on the molten metal of dreams,

Watch the stir which is rhythmic and moves them all as a heart-beat moves the blood,

Here in the swelling flesh the great activity working,

Visible there in the change of eyes and the mobile features.

Oh the great mystery and fascination of the unseen Shaper,

The power of the melting, fusing Force—heat, light, all in one,

Everything great and mysterious in one, swelling and shaping the dream in the flesh,

As it swells and shapes a bud into blossom.

Oh the terrible ecstasy of the consciousness that I am life!

Oh the miracle of the whole, the widespread, labouring concentration

Swelling mankind like one bud to bring forth the fruit of a dream,

Oh the terror of lifting the innermost I out of the sweep of the impulse of life,

And watching the great Thing labouring through the whole round flesh of the world;

And striving to catch a glimpse of the shape of the coming dream,

As it quickens within the labouring, white-hot metal,

Catch the scent and the colour of the coming dream,

Then to fall back exhausted into the unconscious, molten life!