Verse > D.H. Lawrence > New Poems
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D.H. Lawrence (1885–1930).  New Poems.  1916.

14. Under the Oak


YOU, if you were sensible, 
When I tell you the stars flash signals, each one dreadful, 
You would not turn and answer me 
“The night is wonderful.” 
  
Even you, if you knew         5
How this darkness soaks me through and through, and infuses 
Unholy fear in my vapour, you would pause to distinguish 
What hurts, from what amuses. 
  
For I tell you 
Beneath this powerful tree, my whole soul’s fluid  10
Oozes away from me as a sacrifice steam 
At the knife of a Druid. 
  
Again I tell you, I bleed, I am bound with withies, 
My life runs out. 
I tell you my blood runs out on the floor of this oak,  15
Gout upon gout. 
  
Above me springs the blood-born mistletoe 
In the shady smoke. 
But who are you, twittering to and fro 
Beneath the oak?  20
  
What thing better are you, what worse? 
What have you to do with the mysteries 
Of this ancient place, of my ancient curse? 
What place have you in my histories? 


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