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The North Country

From New Poems (1916).


In another country, black poplars shake themselves over a pond,
And rooks and the rising smoke-waves scatter and wheel from the works beyond;
The air is dark with north and with sulphur, the grass is a darker green,
And people darkly invested with purple move palpable through the scene.

Soundlessly down across the counties, out of the resonant gloom
That wraps the north in stupor and purple travels the deep, slow boom
Of the man-life north-imprisoned, shut in the hum of the purpled steel
As it spins to sleep on its motion, drugged dense in the sleep of the wheel.

Out of the sleep, from the gloom of motion, soundlessly, somnambule
Moans and booms the soul of a people imprisoned, asleep in the rule
Of the strong machine that runs mesmeric, booming the spell of its word
Upon them and moving them helpless, mechanic, their will to its will deferred.

Yet all the while comes the droning inaudible, out of the violet air,
The moaning of sleep-bound beings in travail that toil and are will-less there
In the spell-bound north, convulsive now with a dream near morning, strong
With violent achings heaving to burst the sleep that is now not long.


D.H. Lawrence


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