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

53. Blue

THE EARTH again like a ship steams out of the dark sea over

The edge of the blue, and the sun stands up to see us glide

Slowly into another day; slowly the rover

Vessel of darkness takes the rising tide.

I, on the deck, am startled by this dawn confronting

Me who am issued amazed from the darkness, stripped

And quailing here in the sunshine, delivered from haunting

The night unsounded whereon our days are shipped.

Feeling myself undawning, the day’s light playing upon me,

I who am substance of shadow, I all compact

Of the stuff of the night, finding myself all wrongly

Among the crowds of things in the sunshine jostled and racked.

I with the night on my lips, I sigh with the silence of death;

And what do I care though the very stones should cry me unreal, though the clouds

Shine in conceit of substance upon me, who am less than the rain.

Do I know the darkness within them? What are they but shrouds?

The clouds go down the sky with a wealthy ease

Casting a shadow of scorn upon me for my share in death; but I

Hold my own in the midst of them, darkling, defy

The whole of the day to extinguish the shadow I lift on the breeze.

Yea, though the very clouds have vantage over me,

Enjoying their glancing flight, though my love is dead,

I still am not homeless here, I’ve a tent by day

Of darkness where she sleeps on her perfect bed.

And I know the host, the minute sparkling of darkness

Which vibrates untouched and virile through the grandeur of night,

But which, when dawn crows challenge, assaulting the vivid motes

Of living darkness, bursts fretfully, and is bright:

Runs like a fretted arc-lamp into light,

Stirred by conflict to shining, which else

Were dark and whole with the night.

Runs to a fret of speed like a racing wheel,

Which else were aslumber along with the whole

Of the dark, swinging rhythmic instead of a-reel.

Is chafed to anger, bursts into rage like thunder;

Which else were a silent grasp that held the heavens

Arrested, beating thick with wonder.

Leaps like a fountain of blue sparks leaping

In a jet from out of obscurity,

Which erst was darkness sleeping.

Runs into streams of bright blue drops,

Water and stones and stars, and myriads

Of twin-blue eyes, and crops

Of floury grain, and all the hosts of day,

All lovely hosts of ripples caused by fretting

The Darkness into play.