By M. Lockwood
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Additional resources for A Study of the Poems of D. H. Lawrence: Thinking in Poetry
In 1928, Lawrence was a man much more wary of any optimistic view of human progress, divinely inspired or not. Any new future 38 A Study of the Poems of D. H. Lawrence he saw for mankind would not now come about through a process of evolution, but by means of sudden, cataclysmic change, spontaneous, unheralded, and 'destructive-creative'. In the 1928 Dreams Nascent (173-6), the emphasis is overwhelmingly (fifteen stanzas out of eighteen) on the violent destruction of the old. The personal level of the original poem has gone (the railway workers are still there, rather oddly, but the schoolboys have disappeared), the tone has been jacked up one notch from exclamation to exhortation, and the free verse turned into rhyming stanzas, with attendant rhetoric and poetic diction: The whole wide world is interior now, and we're all shut up.
However, when we come to the Nascent section of the poem in the English Review, where it is only slightly longer than the Old, we find exactly the same movement towards abstraction; away, for example, from an acceptable observation such as Oh my boys, bending over your books In you is trembling and fusing The creation of a new-patterned dream, dream of a generation to something much more ambitious: The gigantic flesh of the world Is swelling with widespread, labouring concentration Into one bud on the stalk of eternity, Rounded and swelling towards the fruit of a dream where the attempt to clothe the abstraction in fleshly imagery only succeeds in making it seem more grotesquely disembodied.
Lawrence is combining a belief in God and in the gods both. There is the same one God, the gist of the letter is, yet he is all the gods that men care to see him as in their traditional or their private religions, and none of these is any more or less God than any of the others. so Lawrence always has his conception of the one ultimate God, and he always holds by his appeasing pluralism too - this is as true of the Last Poems as it is of these early ones - and he apparently feels under no necessity to choose between the two.
A Study of the Poems of D. H. Lawrence: Thinking in Poetry by M. Lockwood