Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
From “Lilies in the Fire”
By D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930)
(From Love Poems and Others, 1913)

IS it with pain, my dear, that you shudder so?
Is it because I have hurt you with pain, my dear?
  Did I shiver?—Nay, truly I did not know—
  A dewdrop may-be splashed on my face down here.
Why even now you speak through close-shut teeth.        5
I have been too much for you—Ah, I remember!
  The ground is a little chilly underneath
  The leaves—and, dear, you consume me all to an ember.
You hold yourself all hard as if my kisses
Hurt as I gave them—you put me away—        10
  Ah never I put you away: yet each kiss hisses
  Hot as a drop of fire wastes me away.
I am ashamed, you wanted me not to-night—
Nay, it is always so, you sigh with me.
Your radiance dims when I draw too near, and my free        15
Fire enters your petals like death, you wilt dead white.
Ah, I do know, and I am deep ashamed;
You love me while I hover tenderly
Like clinging sunbeams kissing you; but see
When I close in fire upon you, and you are flamed        20
With the swiftest fire of my love, you are destroyed.
’Tis a degradation deep to me, that my best
Soul’s whitest lightning which should bright attest
God stepping down to earth in one white stride,
Means only to you a clogged, numb burden of flesh        25
Heavy to bear, even heavy to uprear
Again from earth, like lilies wilted and sere
Flogged on the floor, that before stood up so fresh.

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