Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Elephant is Slow to Mate

D.H. Lawrence's poems, like everything else he wrote, it seems, displeased the censors. I rather like his poems. The embarrassing ardor and earnestness of his prose works are often tempered here by a sense of humor pitched somewhere between childlike amusement and adolescent leering. But make no mistake: the ardor remains...

The elephant, the huge old beast,
   is slow to mate;
he finds a female, they show no haste
   they wait

for the sympathy in their vast shy hearts
   slowly, slowly to rouse
as they loiter along the river-beds
   and drink and browse

and dash in panic through the brake
   of forest with the herd,
and sleep in massive silence, and wake
   together, without a word.

So slowly the great hot elephant hearts
  grow full of desire,
and the great beasts mate in secret at last,
   hiding their fire.

Oldest they are and the wisest of beasts
   so they know at last
how to wait for the loneliest of feasts
   for the full repast.

They do not snatch, they do not tear;
   their massive blood
moves as the moon-tides, near,
   more near till they touch in flood.

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