Throughout my life I have sought solace in books and on many levels the great authors have never let me down. Once home I headed straight to our trusty book collection, all spines faced out but it was D.H. Lawrence’s, England, My England that leapt out at me. I bought this collection of Lawrence’s short stories about ten years ago from a small book store in Falkirk, Scotland, on one of many pilgrimages to my homeland in search of restitution. I’d always loved Lawrence and read the book on the train from Glasgow to Norwich. I was young, had other things on my mind, unlike the continual lingering effects of Son’s and Lovers and Women in Love, it didn’t leave a huge impression at that time. Read me now it begged from the shelf, read me now and I’ll rejuvenate your weary soul. So I grabbed it and retreated to my bed to begin my convalescence.
He was working from the small common, beyond the small brook that ran in the dip at the bottom of the garden, carrying the garden path in continuation from the plank bridge on to the common. He had cut the rough turf and bracken, leaving the grey, dryish soil bare. But he was worried because he could not get the path straight, there was a pleat between his brows. He had set up his sticks, and taken the sights between the big pine trees, but for some reason everything seemed wrong.
For the first time in seven days everything seemed right, that strength and perfection in Lawrence’s prose, the precision. I read on, the pages swelling like a river with that voice. The tale comes to life and brings with it the English country side, the struggle of a family man facing his last days of peace before war and I’m lost in the depth of the countryman’s struggle, of the country’s struggle, of a human’s continuous struggle. I’m transported from my sick bed along side Egbert on the edge of the common, hypnotized by the title story England, My England and for the next twelve hours we did not leave each other’s side D.H. Lawrence and me.
My husband comes into the bedroom to check on me and I confess that I’m falling in love with D.H. Lawrence, his stories, his voice, the detail, the imagery. "You have to read this, honey," I say. He looks at me funny, checks my pulse, my temperature and leaves. Perhaps it was my raw state of mind, my hungry psyche that latched onto to and fell in love with the truth in Lawrence’s work, the sensory perception, the authority of the characters or the complete paradox of what one might expect from the man that wrote the controversial Lady Chatterley’s Lover, had most of his work banned and art work confiscated. I knew he was honest but I didn’t realize how uncanny he was in pointing out the foibles and wickedness of human nature. Which he observes with the precision of a raptor scoping from the treetops. This is where his brilliance lies.