A Poem by D. H. Lawrence
Today’s selection from the poetry books of Black Sparrow Books and David R. Godine, Publisher, is from D. H. Lawrence’s Birds, Beasts and Flowers, published in 2007.
Bare Almond Trees
Wet almond trees, in the rain,
Like iron sticking grimly out of earth;
Black almond trunks, in the rain,
Like iron implements twisted, hideous, out of the earth,
Out of the deep, soft fledge of Sicilian winter-green,
Almond trunks curving blackly, iron-dark, climbing the slopes.
Almond tree, beneath the terrace rail,
Black, rusted, iron trunk,
You have welded your thin stems finer,
Like steel, like sensitive steel in the air,
Grey, lavender, sensitive steel, curving thinly and brittly up
in a parabola.
What are you doing in the December rain?
Have you a strange electric sensitiveness in your steel tips?
Do you feel the air for electric influences
Like some strange magnetic apparatus?
Do you take in messages, in some strange code,
From heaven’s wolfish, wandering electricity, that prowls so
constantly round Etna?
Do you take the whisper of sulphur from the air?
Do you hear the chemical accents of the Sun?
Do you telephone the roar of the waters-over-the-earth?
And from all this, do you make calculations?
Sicily, December’s Sicily in a mass of rain
With iron branching blackly, rusted like old, twisted implements
And brandishing and stooping over earth’s wintry fledge, climbing
Of uneatable soft green!
D.H. Lawrence, “Bare Almond Trees” from Birds, Beasts and Flowers. Copyright © (1920) by Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith, Inc. Copyright © (1957) renewed by Frieda Lawrence Ravagli. Reprinted by arrangement with Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc., and with the permission of Black Sparrow Books and David R. Godine, Publisher, Boston. www.blacksparrowbooks.com