DH Lawrence has long been one of my favourite writers. He poured his bohemian soul into so many diverse literary forms: the novel, the short story, the play, the poem, the essay, the travel book. He was also a painter. Unfashionable today, perhaps his uncompromising and idealistic vision for humanity — harnessing instinct, sexuality and the human imagination — will once again be taken seriously. He could not help but write. Not everything he wrote was successful, but there are many, many truths and sublimities to be found in his torrent of words and ideas. Here's a poem of Lawrence's you may not know. I wonder what he would have made of today's technologies?
There is no point in work
unless it absorbs you
like an absorbing game.
If it doesn’t absorb you
if it’s never any fun,
don’t do it.
When a man goes out into his work
he is alive like a tree in spring,
he is living, not merely working.
When the Hindus weave thin wool into long, long lengths of
with their thin dark hands and their wide dark eyes and their
still souls absorbed
they are like slender trees putting forth leaves, a long white
web of living leaf,
the tissue they weave,
and they clothe themselves in white as a tree clothes itself in its
As with cloth, so with houses, ships, shoes, wagons or cups or
Men might put them forth as a snail its shell, as a bird that
its breast against its nest, to make it round,
as the turnip models its round root, as the bush makes
flowers and gooseberries,
putting them forth, not manufacturing them,
and cities might be as once they were, bowers grown out from
the busy bodies of people.
And so it will be again, men will smash the machines.
At last, for the sake of clothing himself in his own leaf-like
tissued from his life,
and dwelling in his own bowery house, like a beaver’s
and drinking from cups that came off his fingers like flowers
off their five-fold stem,
he will cancel the machines we have got.
I love the line arrangement in this poem, and I also love the mix of both 'poetic' and 'awkward' expression Lawrence intentionally employs.