Imagery in Lawrence is never merely visual, it is often muscular and visceral, often conveying the mingled passion and ecstacy of the sexual act in a way rarely seen in modern poetry. He considered everything he wrote about should be ‘apprehended by the blood’ In “Tortoise Shout’ its scream ‘sounds on the plasm’. It is easy to mistake Lawrence’s intentions especially as he has been dubbed ‘the prophet of sex’ but his major concern is always with energy rather than about sex per se and about total involvement in living in the ‘Now’ Totally, energetically alive. “Whatever the unborn or the dead may know, they cannot know the beauty of being alive and now in the flesh” “Tortoise Shout” contains most of his life’s philosophy and is a surprisingly spiritual poem “The silken shriek of the soul’s torn membrane” Here we see him running over the entire gamut of human and animal experience and the agony of being human, yet possessed of a soul ‘screaming in Pentecost’. “The cross,the wheel which breaks up our integrity
Torn to become whole again”
This energy, this zest for life he shows us ‘Bursting through the thick blaze of being’…”Life always in leaf and bud” “The great impersonal flesh and blood Greater than me…contains all the future”
His images interplay with all nature seeing as he does “ grapes, corn, birds, rocks and visions” all part and parcel with the human being, not separable. Lawrence hated above all the conventional response, sentimentality or second hand experiences. He never puts on an act. So it is surprising to read in ‘Baby Running Barefoot’ ‘the white feet of the baby beat across the lawn’ and to be misled into thinking the poem sentimental. But if we look deeply at the beat of the poem it is the deep blood beat response to new life that is at work here and the images are the sounds and movement of nature echoed in the baby’s own movements. ‘Winsome as robin’s song’ ‘soft little wing beats’ ‘two...