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

22. Restlessness

AT the open door of the room I stand and look at the night,

Hold my hand to catch the raindrops, that slant into sight,

Arriving grey from the darkness above suddenly into the light of the room.

I will escape from the hollow room, the box of light,

And be out in the bewildering darkness, which is always fecund, which might

Mate my hungry soul with a germ of its womb.

I will go out to the night, as a man goes down to the shore

To draw his net through the surf’s thin line, at the dawn before

The sun warms the sea, little, lonely and sad, sifting the sobbing tide.

I will sift the surf that edges the night, with my net, the four

Strands of my eyes and my lips and my hands and my feet, sifting the store

Of flotsam until my soul is tired or satisfied.

I will catch in my eyes’ quick net

The faces of all the women as they go past,

Bend over them with my soul, to cherish the wet

Cheeks and wet hair a moment, saying: “Is it you?”

Looking earnestly under the dark umbrellas, held fast

Against the wind; and if, where the lamplight blew

Its rainy swill about us, she answered me

With a laugh and a merry wildness that it was she

Who was seeking me, and had found me at last to free

Me now from the stunting bonds of my chastity,

How glad I should be!

Moving along in the mysterious ebb of the night

Pass the men whose eyes are shut like anemones in a dark pool;

Why don’t they open with vision and speak to me, what have they in sight?

Why do I wander aimless among them, desirous fool?

I can always linger over the huddled books on the stalls,

Always gladden my amorous fingers with the touch of their leaves,

Always kneel in courtship to the shelves in the doorways, where falls

The shadow, always offer myself to one mistress, who always receives.

But oh, it is not enough, it is all no good.

There is something I want to feel in my running blood,

Something I want to touch; I must hold my face to the rain,

I must hold my face to the wind, and let it explain

Me its life as it hurries in secret.

I will trail my hands again through the drenched, cold leaves

Till my hands are full of the chillness and touch of leaves,

Till at length they induce me to sleep, and to forget.