D.H.Lawrence's 'Bavarian Gentians'

D.H. Lawrence. (1885-1930)

Perhaps better known as a noveliist, Lawrence wrote a lot of ‘poetry’, and a lot of it is forgettable. Spontaneity can be theorised and might be liberating, but it doesn’t always produce lasting works of arts. Reading his complete poems you can be forgiven for wishing he had known a better editor or had a better relationship with his waste paper bin.

But I have liked this poem since I found it in a school text book, amongst all the other poems we weren’t ‘doing’ as fifteen year olds. I didn’t know what a gentian was, nor was i entirely sure how to pronounce it. But it seemed far more interesting than his poems about snakes and tortoises which we were struggling to 'appreciate' in clumsy essays.

It’s an interesting antidote to the idea that you must vary your vocabulary.

This is taken from 'Last Poems’ which contains the equally memorable ‘The Ship fo Death’.