Home  »  Amores: Poems  »  16. Scent of Irises

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

16. Scent of Irises

A FAINT, sickening scent of irises

Persists all morning. Here in a jar on the table

A fine proud spike of purple irises

Rising above the class-room litter, makes me unable

To see the class’s lifted and bended faces

Save in a broken pattern, amid purple and gold and sable.

I can smell the gorgeous bog-end, in its breathless

Dazzle of may-blobs, when the marigold glare overcast you

With fire on your cheeks and your brow and your chin as you dipped

Your face in the marigold bunch, to touch and contrast you,

Your own dark mouth with the bridal faint lady-smocks,

Dissolved on the golden sorcery you should not outlast.

You amid the bog-end’s yellow incantation,

You sitting in the cowslips of the meadow above,

Me, your shadow on the bog-flame, flowery may-blobs,

Me full length in the cowslips, muttering you love;

You, your soul like a lady-smock, lost, evanescent,

You with your face all rich, like the sheen of a dove.

You are always asking, do I remember, remember

The butter-cup bog-end where the flowers rose up

And kindled you over deep with a cast of gold?

You ask again, do the healing days close up

The open darkness which then drew us in,

The dark which then drank up our brimming cup.

You upon the dry, dead beech-leaves, in the fire of night

Burnt like a sacrifice; you invisible;

Only the fire of darkness, and the scent of you!

—And yes, thank God, it still is possible

The healing days shall close the darkness up

Wherein we fainted like a smoke or dew.

Like vapour, dew, or poison. Now, thank God,

The fire of night is gone, and your face is ash

Indistinguishable on the grey, chill day;

The night had burst us out, at last the good

Dark fire burns on untroubled, without clash

Of you upon the dead leaves saying me Yea.