Home  »  Amores: Poems  »  21. Ballad of Another Ophelia

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

21. Ballad of Another Ophelia

OH the green glimmer of apples in the orchard,

Lamps in a wash of rain!

Oh the wet walk of my brown hen through the stackyard,

Oh tears on the window pane!

Nothing now will ripen the bright green apples,

Full of disappointment and of rain,

Brackish they will taste, of tears, when the yellow dapples

Of autumn tell the withered tale again.

All round the yard it is cluck, my brown hen,

Cluck, and the rain-wet wings,

Cluck, my marigold bird, and again

Cluck for your yellow darlings.

For the grey rat found the gold thirteen

Huddled away in the dark,

Flutter for a moment, oh the beast is quick and keen,

Extinct one yellow-fluffy spark.

Once I had a lover bright like running water,

Once his face was laughing like the sky;

Open like the sky looking down in all its laughter

On the buttercups, and the buttercups was I.

What, then, is there hidden in the skirts of all the blossom?

What is peeping from your wings, oh mother hen?

’Tis the sun who asks the question, in a lovely haste for wisdom;

What a lovely haste for wisdom is in men!

Yea, but it is cruel when undressed is all the blossom,

And her shift is lying white upon the floor,

That a grey one, like a shadow, like a rat, a thief, a rain-storm,

Creeps upon her then and gathers in his store.

Oh the grey garner that is full of half-grown apples,

Oh the golden sparkles laid extinct!

And oh, behind the cloud-sheaves, like yellow autumn dapples,

Did you see the wicked sun that winked!