Bavarian Gentians

Original Text: 
D. H. Lawrence, Last Poems, ed. Richard Aldington (London: Martin Secker, 1933): 37-38. PR 6023 A93 A17 Robarts Library
3Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark
4darkening the day-time torch-like with the smoking blueness of Pluto's gloom,
5ribbed and torch-like, with their blaze of darkness spread blue
6down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day
7torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto's dark-blue daze,
9giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter's pale lamps give off light,
10lead me then, lead me the way.
12let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower
13down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness.
14even where Persephone goes, just now, from the frosted September
15to the sightless realm where darkness is awake upon the dark
16and Persephone herself is but a voice
17or a darkness invisible enfolded in the deeper dark
18of the arms Plutonic, and pierced with the passion of dense gloom,
19among the splendour of torches of darkness, shedding darkness on the lost bride and her groom.


1] gentians: blue-flowered herbs. Back to Line
2] Michaelmas: September 29, Christian feast of St. Michael. Back to Line
8] Dis: "Dio" in edition, but in manuscript as here, corrected by Vivian de Sola Pinto and Warren Roberts, Complete Poems (Penguin, 1993): 1019.
Pluto, god of the classical underworld, took Persephone,daughter of Demeter, goddess of natural growth, to be his queenbut allowed her to return to the living world from May to Augustevery year. Back to Line
11] Pinto and Roberts supply the final exclamation mark, also missing from the printed edition. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
1933. Roberts A62
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2000.