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Thread: D.H.Lawrence ~ The Tortoise Poems

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    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    ktd, ran out of time today and tonight. Really worn out and tired now. I will get back to you tomorrow. J

    Meanwhile you might want to check out this fascinating site on Lawrence at Nottingham University.

    http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/onli...hl/index.phtml

    On left, If you go to the last one - 'Portal' it will take you to another cite with even more great photos. Enjoy exploring. It is a great site and will open your eyes to L and his life.
    Last edited by Janine; 06-30-2007 at 03:29 PM.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Ktd, Did you happen to see the add at the top of our page - it is for live tortoises. I really had to laugh. At first I could not believe my eyes. Funny, don't you think?
    Not at first because the Ad pages change...but I did today. How funny I'm glad our discussion got so much attention that the advertisers asked specifically to be placed in our discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    ktd, ran out of time today and tonight. Really worn out and tired now. I will get back to you tomorrow. J

    Meanwhile you might want to check out this fascinating site on Lawrence at Nottingham University.

    http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/onli...hl/index.phtml

    On left, If you go to the last one - 'Portal' it will take you to another cite with even more great photos. Enjoy exploring. It is a great site and will open your eyes to L and his life.
    I probably won't be able to post anything this weekend so take your time. I'll try and check out the site you mentioned, thanks.

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    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktd222 View Post
    Not at first because the Ad pages change...but I did today. How funny I'm glad our discussion got so much attention that the advertisers asked specifically to be placed in our discussion

    I probably won't be able to post anything this weekend so take your time. I'll try and check out the site you mentioned, thanks.
    ktd, thanks for being so patient. I have to admit that I feel totally overwhelmed with the other two active threads. I did not realise the WIL discussion would take all my energy and concentration. I also am in the "Sons and Lovers" discussion with Pensive and Virgil. Whew - it has been a busy month so far. Both of these discussions get pretty intense at times. I finished the WIL book last night, but now I am reading commentary. I think one needs more than one month to discuss this book, maybe any book.
    At any rate, I still very much want to get back to your post, #12, I think it is. Not sure now - but I recall you bringing up good points about the narrator 'wondering' if the creature can 'wonder' at all. Interesting part of the poem. I will think about that and get back to answer all of that post after the weekend.
    Enjoy your weekend! J
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktd222 View Post
    I never knew Lawrence had so many obstacles in his life. It does correlate well with the idea moving through the tortoise poem. It’s always touching to glimpse into someone else’s life, and feel their emotions through their works.
    Hi ktd, I am sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I am feeling like a juggler juggling all these L threads. Now my good friend, Downing, wants to read the short story and post in that thread; that never did get off the ground this month; it was delayed till next month, but now we are close enough. So then we will have 4 active Lawrence threads. I might help you to review some thing written in the "Sons and Lover's" thread about Lawrence and his background. I don't know if you read the short biography on his site, but that, or the one in Wikipedia would be good for you to read to give you a sense of all the obstacles L was up against in his real life. This poem for me takes on so much more meaning, now that I am aware of all these facts of his background and life. And ktd, it is so "touching to glimpse into someone else's life", especially true for Lawrence, as you so aptly put that. I have bought the "Selected Letters" and one day I read a few from his early days; I actually got goosebumps reading it. It felt so personal and so intimate - such a rare glimpse into his astute and sensitive mind.

    As for the word “challenger,” besides from the obvious, why do you suppose Lawrence connects tortoise, to challenger, to little Ulysses…? Is this possibly the first step in relating the tortoise to human beings? I’m not sure. I never really worked out this correlation.
    Again this goes back to his biography. Lawrence challenged the literary world and was up against censorship and even banning of his books. His whole life for publication was a struggle and a challenge. So was his personal life. Lawrence would easily relate to the stuggle and challenge of the little tortoise. As to 'little Ulysses', L often used references to Greek mythology and to other myths and legends, also the bible and other mystical references. We have found that very evident in our reading of "Women in Love". Throughout the entire novel, the use of symbolism and Greek mythology is prominent and meaningful to the text. I don't know that much about Greek mythology, nor recall what I did know, but I would assume that Ulysses is challenged and must go up against the world; am I right? I think, definitely, this poem throughout, is being linked to humans. Perhaps using 'Ulysses' and 'challenger' is the first step in conveying that idea.

    You know what’s also interesting about the last couple of lines…that the baby tortoise is now described as “invincible.” Remember that somewhere in the middle of the poem it was the world which seemed invincible? So by poem’s end I get a sense this baby tortoise, which started out its journey half-alive, fragile, almost incapable of movement, has come full circle to become incapable of being subdued itself. It is unconquerable.
    It was almost as if Lawrence himself was "invincible". For one thing, he defied death and beat it so many times it was amazing, truly miraculous. He probably had TB most of his life; he called it his 'broncials' and was in denial of the disease. He never gave up to his dying day, nor felt sorry for himself. He wanted so badly to live and he had the greatest zest for life. Does this tell you something about the poem and how he would greatly admire this little creature for persisting in this big emorous dangerous world, in order to survive?

    Good observation, that first the world is mentioned at 'invincible', and then by the end of the poem, it is the baby tortoise who is steadily progressing and is the one who is indeed 'invincible'. I fully agree with your last two statements. Yes, nothing in this poem is inert, althought slow and steady, there is still a 'forward moving' and developing; and now the tortoise gains it's footing and it's strength by persisting on - 'inconquerable'.

    I wonder if the baby tortoise would look like a baby bird if it did not contain a shell?
    I think it might be so. I know too that Lawrence seemed to mention birds quite often and he loved the phoenix which burns down to nothing to be reborn. This may have some deeper significance to L and also to his ideas of returning to the primal aspects of life. Not sure exactly. But naked baby birds do sort of resemble turtles without shells, don't they?

    Here’s another example, kind of a funny one at that, relating the tortoise’s focus:
    “Do you wonder at the world…?” – This question, suggested by the speaker, simply asked if the baby tortoise thought or was curious about the world

    “Are you able to wonder?” – This second question turns on the first question and asks if the baby tortoise is able to wonder at all.
    Yes, I like that because I have thought the same thing when watching a box turtle that used to live in my garden. Also, I live near much wildlife - ducks, rabbits, mustrats, chipmunks, and geese and again, I have often pondered this question or just how they think and wonder, if they do. Interesting that "the second question turns on the first question....." this seems to me to set up a type of rhythm and also duality in the questioning, or taking it to a deeping level.

    There seems to be a natural tendency or assumption that living things have thoughts about their surroundings. But in this case, it seems the speaker is unable to recognize the look of wonder on this baby tortoise and therefore ask if it is able to wonder at all.
    ktd, I am not quite sure of this. Is he unable to see any wonder in the baby tortoise? Can you explain better what you are thinking here and basing that on. It seems odd to me that L would not recognise wonder on the tortoise's face. I have to think about this one more.
    Last edited by Janine; 06-26-2007 at 05:14 PM.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Hi ktd, I am sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I am feeling like a juggler juggling all these L threads. Now my good friend, Downing, wants to read the short story and post in that thread; that never did get off the ground this month; it was delayed till next month, but now we are close enough. So then we will have 4 active Lawrence threads. I might help you to review some thing written in the "Sons and Lover's" thread about Lawrence and his background. I don't know if you read the short biography on his site, but that, or the one in Wikipedia would be good for you to read to give you a sense of all the obstacles L was up against in his real life. This poem for me takes on so much more meaning, now that I am aware of all these facts of his background and life. And ktd, it is so "touching to glimpse into someone else's life", especially true for Lawrence, as you so aptly put that. I have bought the "Selected Letters" and one day I read a few from his early days; I actually got goosebumps reading it. It felt so personal and so intimate - such a rare glimpse into his astute and sensitive mind.
    Hey, if anything, these threads are allowing you to hone you’re expertise on Lawrence. As for biographies…I had not read Lawrence’s; I will read it though. I’m afraid if I investigate Lawrence’s life any further, I may never move off him and to other poets and poems.
    Again this goes back to his biography. Lawrence challenged the literary world and was up against censorship and even banning of his books. His whole life for publication was a struggle and a challenge. So was his personal life. Lawrence would easily relate to the stuggle and challenge of the little tortoise. As to 'little Ulysses', L often used references to Greek mythology and to other myths and legends, also the bible and other mystical references. We have found that very evident in our reading of "Women in Love". Throughout the entire novel, the use of symbolism and Greek mythology is prominent and meaningful to the text. I don't know that much about Greek mythology, nor recall what I did know, but I would assume that Ulysses is challenged and must go up against the world; am I right? I think, definitely, this poem throughout, is being linked to humans. Perhaps using 'Ulysses' and 'challenger' is the first step in conveying that idea.
    I don’t know. This would make sense to me. Someone who’s knowledgeable about Greek Mythology, is Janine right? Virgil? Anyone? Now I guess the next question is what’s the connection between Little Ulysses and the gentlemen in the long skirted coat? Sorry I can’t provide an explanation because it just seems really odd.
    It was almost as if Lawrence himself was "invincible". For one thing, he defied death and beat it so many times it was amazing, truly miraculous. He probably had TB most of his life; he called it his 'broncials' and was in denial of the disease. He never gave up to his dying day, nor felt sorry for himself. He wanted so badly to live and he had the greatest zest for life. Does this tell you something about the poem and how he would greatly admire this little creature for persisting in this big emorous dangerous world, in order to survive?
    Sure. From what you’ve provided of Lawrence’s background, one could easily forget that this poem is about a tortoise at all.
    I think it might be so. I know too that Lawrence seemed to mention birds quite often and he loved the phoenix which burns down to nothing to be reborn. This may have some deeper significance to L and also to his ideas of returning to the primal aspects of life. Not sure exactly. But naked baby birds do sort of resemble turtles without shells, don't they?
    They really do look similar. That’s interesting, the part about the phoenix “which burns down to nothing to be reborn.” Is he possibly also referencing the need of humans to be reborn? Have we somewhere along the course of our race lost sight of our own purpose in this world? This reminds me of Mountain Lion, which is another poem of his, where he talks more directly about the relationship of humans and lions to each other and the world.
    Yes, I like that because I have thought the same thing when watching a box turtle that used to live in my garden. Also, I live near much wildlife - ducks, rabbits, mustrats, chipmunks, and geese and again, I have often pondered this question or just how they think and wonder, if they do. Interesting that "the second question turns on the first question....." this seems to me to set up a type of rhythm and also duality in the questioning, or taking it to a deeping level.
    ktd, I am not quite sure of this. Is he unable to see any wonder in the baby tortoise? Can you explain better what you are thinking here and basing that on. It seems odd to me that L would not recognise wonder on the tortoise's face. I have to think about this one more.
    No, you’re right. Lawrence is able to recognize the look of wonder. One has to be acquainted with a look of anger, happiness, wonder, etc, in order to recognize those looks in others. When the tortoise is “slowly turning his head in its wimple” – that is what wondering looks like to Lawrence. Yet he is not sure the tortoise is wondering, otherwise he would not be putting this sentence in question form. So what follows is a question asking whether the tortoise is able to wonder at all.

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    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktd222 View Post
    Hey, if anything, these threads are allowing you to hone you’re expertise on Lawrence. As for biographies…I had not read Lawrence’s; I will read it though. I’m afraid if I investigate Lawrence’s life any further, I may never move off him and to other poets and poems.
    Hi ktd, Well, thanks - but in doing so I really I don't want to come across as a 'know-it-all'. I might turn some people off if I did that. I have just read so much, it naturally comes out and I love sharing it with others. I am sometimes overly enthusiastic about Lawrence. Yes, if you read more you just might be stuck in the Lawrence mode, too; I know I was for a time on discovering him, but then I was on to other authors - I go through stages. I really like Hardy and went through most of his work, and now I am back to Lawrence again. A good biography of Lawrence is quite fascinating and directly relates to his work, quite invaluable to ones greater understanding.

    I don’t know. This would make sense to me. Someone who’s knowledgeable about Greek Mythology, is Janine right? Virgil? Anyone? Now I guess the next question is what’s the connection between Little Ulysses and the gentlemen in the long skirted coat? Sorry I can’t provide an explanation because it just seems really odd.
    Maybe Virgil will have ideas on this and the 'long skirted coat'. That, I have no idea about. It does seem odd, but it must mean something significant if he wrote it into the poem. Virgil was away on business but I have seen him on here briefly today. He is trying to concentrate on finishing WIL - said in his post he had only 25 pages to go. He will get around to this post eventually; I'll mention it to him.
    Sure. From what you’ve provided of Lawrence’s background, one could easily forget that this poem is about a tortoise at all.
    Funny, I have lost my perspective, maybe. I can only see it in terms of L and his life struggle. I can empathise with the way the baby tortoise must struggle along against all odds. I think it applies to all mankind, who struggle with great obstacles in their life. It is really quite a universal theme.

    They really do look similar. That’s interesting, the part about the phoenix “which burns down to nothing to be reborn.” Is he possibly also referencing the need of humans to be reborn? Have we somewhere along the course of our race lost sight of our own purpose in this world? This reminds me of Mountain Lion, which is another poem of his, where he talks more directly about the relationship of humans and lions to each other and the world.
    Well, that was the idea behind the phoenix for Lawrence. It gets a bit complicated thought. His remains were buried with a phoenix in stone as the marker. Later his body was exhumed and he was taken to his ranch in New Mexico and buried in a small shrine with the phoenix above. If you go to Wikipedia you can view the grave and you can learn more about the phoenix concept and how he applied it to himself. Yes, L did feel we had as humanity lost sight of our purpose and our way in the world. L is very symbolic in his books like "Women in Love" and "The Rainbow" and later ones. He airs out all these themes/philosophies/ideas in those books. The "Mountain Lion" poem sounds interesting. I have never read that one; will have to look it up in my book tonight. Hummm....

    No, you’re right. Lawrence is able to recognize the look of wonder. One has to be acquainted with a look of anger, happiness, wonder, etc, in order to recognize those looks in others. When the tortoise is “slowly turning his head in its wimple” – that is what wondering looks like to Lawrence. Yet he is not sure the tortoise is wondering, otherwise he would not be putting this sentence in question form. So what follows is a question asking whether the tortoise is able to wonder at all.
    Yes, it is still a very interesting thing to ask the question. Maybe L is questioning himself of his own belief as to if, indeed, the tortoise can reason or wonder.
    Last edited by Janine; 06-28-2007 at 11:34 PM.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Hi ktd, Well, thanks - but in doing so I really I don't want to come across as a 'know-it-all'. I might turn some people off if I did that. I have just read so much, it naturally comes out and I love sharing it with others. I am sometimes overly enthusiastic about Lawrence. Yes, if you read more you just might be stuck in the Lawrence mode, too; I know I was for a time on discovering him, but then I was on to other authors - I go through stages. I really like Hardy and went through most of his work, and now I am back to Lawrence again. A good biography of Lawrence is quite fascinating and directly relates to his work, quite invaluable to ones greater
    understanding.
    I don’t know how that would have anything to do with you. I enjoy reading your posts about Lawrence.

    Maybe Virgil will have ideas on this and the 'long skirted coat'. That, I have no idea about. It does seem odd, but it must mean something significant if he wrote it into the poem. Virgil was away on business but I have seen him on here briefly today. He is trying to concentrate on finishing WIL - said in his post he had only 25 pages to go. He will get around to this post eventually; I'll mention it to him.
    Ok, til then. All I know is that the tuxedo he mentioned could refer to the tortoise’s shell, and the “tail tucked a little on one side” could be the “long skirted” part of the coat on this gentleman.

    The "Mountain Lion" poem sounds interesting. I have never read that one; will have to look it up in my book tonight. Hummm....
    See how I’m introducing you to this whole other aspect of Lawrence’s work. Now you’ll be a well rounded Lawrence expert.

    Yes, it is still a very interesting thing to ask the question. Maybe L is questioning himself of his own belief as to if, indeed, the tortoise can reason or wonder.
    I would love to hear other people’s take(s) on this. Actually I would love to hear from someone other than you once in a while, Janine.

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    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktd222 View Post
    I don’t know how that would have anything to do with you. I enjoy reading your posts about Lawrence.
    ktd....ahhh....thank you so much for saying this. Unfortunately, recently I think a few people have taken offense. I felt badly about that. I think they just misunderstood me, but I suppose it can happen on here, when you can't see the person or percieve how they really are. I would not intentionally hurt any ones feelings. Sometimes you can attempt to point out something and the other person will take it as being condenscending; I would never mean it that way. Things get out of proportion when you only surmise.

    Ok, til then. All I know is that the tuxedo he mentioned could refer to the tortoise’s shell, and the “tail tucked a little on one side” could be the “long skirted” part of the coat on this gentleman.
    I think that is good. I do think this is what he probably is referring to. Most likely, he simply observed the creature's movement and it reminded him of a man wearing a tuxedo. It does connect us to the world of man/humans, as well and probably did so to Lawrence in his own mind at that moment. I think description like this came naturally to Lawrence, don't you?

    See how I’m introducing you to this whole other aspect of Lawrence’s work. Now you’ll be a well rounded Lawrence expert.
    Yes, thanks so much!....I am pretty rounded already though, and not just in the Lawrence sense...haha....with age pounds creep up..... But now I have never had anyone to ponder over these poems with. I find that is rounding out my L experience for certain.
    I must tell you, the funny thing is I did invest in a huge book of his "Collected Poems" - complete. I had this book from my library once, but they had to borrow it from another library in my county, so I did not have time to read every single poem, of course. Beside the fact that I like to read poetry slowly and really absorb it. Needless to say I have hardly had the time to begin reading the collection, but it is definitely on my must read list....which is extensive...and grows more so everyday.

    I would love to hear other people’s take(s) on this. Actually I would love to hear from someone other than you once in a while, Janine.
    Well, you said it - so would I!!! "Hello, where is everybody hiding?" I have been trying so hard to recruit people for this thread and the short story one, as well. It seems no one finds this one, but I have directed people here to read some of the posts various times.
    Concerning Virgil, I think he is totally overwhelmed by now. He only just finished up WIL, went on a short business trip, told me he read the short story on the plane, had some family matters to attend to, and is starting "Don Quixote", not to mention "To the Lighthouse". I try to remind him via PM that the short story thread and this one awaits his brilliance, but I think there is only so many hours in the day. I will email him later tonight and remind him again. It is his aniversary and he is going out to dinner tonight.
    Last edited by Janine; 07-01-2007 at 12:37 AM.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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    I think I finally found time to read the poem carefully and get back to the thread. There was a passage in Women In Love where Birkin, who is essentially a standin for Lawrence himself in the novel has retreated to his room from a social gathering and Hermione come in to see to him and finds him sketching a goose. Here's that passage:
    `What were you doing?' she reiterated, in her mild, indifferent tone. He did not answer, and she made her way, almost unconsciously into his room. He had taken a Chinese drawing of geese from the boudoir, and was copying it, with much skill and vividness.

    `You are copying the drawing,' she said, standing near the table, and looking down at his work. `Yes. How beautifully you do it! You like it very much, don't you?'

    `It's a marvellous drawing,' he said.

    `Is it? I'm so glad you like it, because I've always been fond of it. The Chinese Ambassador gave it me.'

    `I know,' he said.

    `But why do you copy it?' she asked, casual and sing-song. `Why not do something original?'

    `I want to know it,' he replied. `One gets more of China, copying this picture, than reading all the books.'

    `And what do you get?'

    She was at once roused, she laid as it were violent hands on him, to extract his secrets from him. She must know. It was a dreadful tyranny, an obsession in her, to know all he knew. For some time he was silent, hating to answer her. Then, compelled, he began:

    `I know what centres they live from -- what they perceive and feel -- the hot, stinging centrality of a goose in the flux of cold water and mud -- the curious bitter stinging heat of a goose's blood, entering their own blood like an inoculation of corruptive fire -- fire of the cold-burning mud -- the lotus mystery.'
    I think that passage is relevant in understanding what Lawrece is after in these animal poems. These animal poems are sketches where he is after the "centrality" of the creature. I think that is his first priority and I think he accomplishes that marvelously here. We can all see the baby tortoise and its inner motivations.

    But that is not to say that other themes don't grow or are suggested. You guys have already mentioned the significance of the words "alone," "inanimate," and "immense universe." We see the tiny thing's struggle to survive, an exertion of his will to endure. In Lawrentian thought, the exertion of will is what separates animals from plants. Without getting too deep, for Lawrence plant life is a sort of nirvana, the ultimate spiritual goal of living things, and the exertion of will is a sort of consciousness that has separated us from that spirituality. Notice he starts this poem with the birth of the tortoise and he uses a very significant word: "lapsed." Lapsed is how Adam and Eve are referred to after they eat the apple and are doomed to earth and earthly life. The tortoise then is a metaphor for life - animal and human life. I think the tortoise's struggle is our struggle against the inanimate universe. Other stuff going on too, but I think that's the heart of it.

    I'll try to answer some of the questions you've brought up in little while.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

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    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Virgil, good post. I liked how you sited the example from WIL. I think that is significant to some extent.

    I found this in my offline Lawrence file that I have been compiling for some time. I found it online months ago. I thought it might be of interest. It is part of a letter written by Lawrence, speaking of his poetry; so here you can read his own words....

    In light of recent discussions on poetry and for those interested in Lawrence's
    writing technique, I thought this letter to Edward Marsh dated Nov. 19, 1913
    might be of interest. Lawrence writes in part:

    "I think I read my poetry more by length than by stress as a matter of
    movements in space than footsteps hitting the earth. . . .I think more of a bird with broad wings flying and lapsing through the air, than anything, when I think of metre. . . .It all depends on the pause, the natural pause, the natural lingering of the voice according to the feeling--it is the hidden emotional pattern that makes poetry, not the obvious form. . . .It is the lapse of the feeling, something as indefinite as expression in the voice carrying emotion. It doesn't depend on the ear, particularly, but on the sensitive soul. And the ear gets a habit, and becomes master, when the ebbing and lifting emotion should be master, and the ear the transmitter. If your ear has got stiff and a bit mechanical, don't blame my poetry. . . .
    I can't tell you what pattern I see in any poetry, save one complete
    thing. But surely you don't class poetry among the decorative or conventional
    arts. I always wonder if the Greeks and Romans really did scan, or if scansion
    wasn't a thing invented afterwards by the schoolmaster. Yet I seem to find
    about the same number of long lingering notes in each line." (Collected
    Letters of DHL, p. 242-44/Vol. I, ed. by H.T. Moore, Heinemann)

    The letter includes examples of how Lawrence scans poetry including some lines
    of his own from "Roses on the Breakfast Table"/"All of Roses."
    I thought it was interesting and I will try to look up the whole letter in my book.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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    Thanks Janine, that was interesting. Now that I'm back, where's ktd?
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    I think that passage is relevant in understanding what Lawrece is after in these animal poems. These animal poems are sketches where he is after the "centrality" of the creature. I think that is his first priority and I think he accomplishes that marvelously here. We can all see the baby tortoise and its inner motivations.

    But that is not to say that other themes don't grow or are suggested. You guys have already mentioned the significance of the words "alone," "inanimate," and "immense universe." We see the tiny thing's struggle to survive, an exertion of his will to endure. In Lawrentian thought, the exertion of will is what separates animals from plants. Without getting too deep, for Lawrence plant life is a sort of nirvana, the ultimate spiritual goal of living things, and the exertion of will is a sort of consciousness that has separated us from that spirituality. Notice he starts this poem with the birth of the tortoise and he uses a very significant word: "lapsed." Lapsed is how Adam and Eve are referred to after they eat the apple and are doomed to earth and earthly life. The tortoise then is a metaphor for life - animal and human life. I think the tortoise's struggle is our struggle against the inanimate universe. Other stuff going on too, but I think that's the heart of it.

    I'll try to answer some of the questions you've brought up in little while.
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Thanks Janine, that was interesting. Now that I'm back, where's ktd?
    I'm here. Been here all the time, but just in a different forum.

    This is a great quote, Virgil. I’m hesitant to place Lawrence’s ideology about plants in the context of this poem, though. As for “will” as it applies to the tortoise and human, I think I agree, because that’s exactly what I thought Lawrence felt lacked or was lost in humans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Virgil, good post. I liked how you sited the example from WIL. I think that is significant to some extent.

    I found this in my offline Lawrence file that I have been compiling for some time. I found it online months ago. I thought it might be of interest. It is part of a letter written by Lawrence, speaking of his poetry; so here you can read his own words....



    I thought it was interesting and I will try to look up the whole letter in my book.
    Interesting indeed! I really never pegged Lawrence as one of those poets who formulated meter and rhyme patterns before he wrote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ktd222 View Post
    Interesting indeed! I really never pegged Lawrence as one of those poets who formulated meter and rhyme patterns before he wrote.
    Lawrence quote:
    I think I read my poetry more by length than by stress as a matter of
    movements in space than footsteps hitting the earth. . . .I think more of a bird with broad wings flying and lapsing through the air, than anything, when I think of metre. . . .It all depends on the pause, the natural pause, the natural lingering of the voice according to the feeling--it is the hidden emotional pattern that makes poetry, not the obvious form. . . .It is the lapse of the feeling, something as indefinite as expression in the voice carrying emotion. It doesn't depend on the ear, particularly, but on the sensitive soul. And the ear gets a habit, and becomes master, when the ebbing and lifting emotion should be master, and the ear the transmitter. If your ear has got stiff and a bit mechanical, don't blame my poetry. . . .
    I can't tell you what pattern I see in any poetry, save one complete
    thing
    . But surely you don't class poetry among the decorative or conventional arts. I always wonder if the Greeks and Romans really did scan, or if scansion wasn't a thing invented afterwards by the schoolmaster. Yet I seem to find about the same number of long lingering notes in each line(Collected Letters of DHL, p. 242-44/Vol. I, ed. by H.T. Moore, Heinemann)


    ktd, I think if you re-read the passage above (I underlined some keywords/phrases) you will notice actually, how unstructured and free L is in his thinking; he seems to let the words, phrases, lines just flow along as it would; then he seems to notice a rhythm and meter emerge, quite natural to Lawrence, himself. The 'keywords' clue you into this idea, indicating what is is not and what is is, using metaphors like "a bird with broad wings flying" to indicate a freedom of style and form. At least this is what I understood his explanation to mean. Lawrence seems not to be restricted by any set rules or criteria, but rather to know of his own freedom and yet to write within his own timing and rhythm and meter, as it comes naturally to him as he writes. Even his use of 'repetition', I believe is 'unconscious' and very 'natural' to Lawrence. Let me know what you think?

    Also, ktd, let me know when you want me to post the next poem. I have chosen it - "Tortoise Shell". It is a very interesting poem. You will like it and so will Virgil.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    ktd, I think if you re-read the passage above (I underlined some keywords/phrases) you will notice actually, how unstructured and free L is in his thinking; he seems to let the words, phrases, lines just flow along as it would; then he seems to notice a rhythm and meter emerge, quite natural to Lawrence, himself. The 'keywords' clue you into this idea, indicating what is is not and what is is, using metaphors like "a bird with broad wings flying" to indicate a freedom of style and form. At least this is what I understood his explanation to mean. Lawrence seems not to be restricted by any set rules or criteria, but rather to know of his own freedom and yet to write within his own timing and rhythm and meter, as it comes naturally to him as he writes. Even his use of 'repetition', I believe is 'unconscious' and very 'natural' to Lawrence. Let me know what you think?

    Also, ktd, let me know when you want me to post the next poem. I have chosen it - "Tortoise Shell". It is a very interesting poem. You will like it and so will Virgil.
    Well…whether these creations(rhyme, meter, etc) happen beforehand, during, or after the writing process he still falls into one or more of these categories. For me these creations of his did not seem conceived as an afterthought to what was already written. I hope you didn’t miss-take my comment to mean so. I can see where my comment can be read both ways.

    It doesn't depend on the ear, particularly, but on the sensitive soul. And the ear gets a habit, and becomes master, when the ebbing and lifting emotion should be master, and the ear the transmitter.
    This quote is great. It is so true. This is the primary purpose of such things as rhyme and meter…to reflect one’s emotions, and not for the sake of rhyme and meter alone.

    As for the next poem...is Virgil ready? Sounds interesting. I'm looking forward to our next discussion.

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