Poem(s) for the New Year: DH Lawrence's New Year's Tryst


D.H. Lawrence, now mostly remembered for Lady Chatterley's Lover and the censorship trial that followed, also had a stellar career in poetry (which many regard as superior to any of his novels). They possess an animal vibrance that stands in sharp contrast to his more cerebral contempories (T.S. Eliot's Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock was published in the same year, 1917).

One can easily imagine that the narrator of the two poems below would not only dare to eat a peach, he would eat it off his lover's body and spit it in the face of his enemies. Kick off your new year with a little bit of passion. Enjoy!

"New Year's Eve" by D.H. Lawrence

There are only two things now,
The great black night scooped out
And this fire-glow.

This fire-glow, the core,
And we the two ripe pips
That are held in store.

Listen, the darkness rings
As it circulates round our fire.
Take off your things.

Your shoulders, your bruised throat!
Your breasts, your nakedness!
This fiery coat!

As the darkness flickers and dips,
As the firelight falls and leaps
From your feet to your lips!

"New Year's Night" by D.H. Lawrence

Now you are mine, to-night at last I say it;
You’re a dove I have bought for sacrifice,
And to-night I slay it.

Here in my arms my naked sacrifice!
Death, do you hear, in my arms I am bringing
My offering, bought at great price.

She’s a silvery dove worth more than all I’ve got.
Now I offer her up to the ancient, inexorable God,
Who knows me not.

Look, she’s a wonderful dove, without blemish or spot!
I sacrifice all in her, my last of the world,
Pride, strength, all the lot.

All, all on the altar! And death swooping down
Like a falcon. ’Tis God has taken the victim;
I have won my renown.

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