Page 1 of 7 123456 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 101

Thread: D. H. Lawrence, Ship of Death

  1. #1
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    6,304

    D. H. Lawrence, Ship of Death

    With the somewhat success of The Man With the Blue Guitar thread, I thought it may be a good idea to start a thread on this great poem by D. H. Lawrence, The Ship of Death - available here: http://www.poetryconnection.net/poet...Lawrence/15630

    I

    Now it is autumn and the falling fruit
    and the long journey towards oblivion.

    The apples falling like great drops of dew
    to bruise themselves an exit from themselves.

    And it is time to go, to bid farewell
    to one's own self, and find an exit
    from the fallen self.


    ................................

    V

    Build then the ship of death, for you must take
    the longest journey, to oblivion.

    And die the death, the long and painful death
    that lies between the old self and the new.

    Already our bodies are fallen, bruised, badly bruised,
    already our souls are oozing through the exit
    of the cruel bruise.

    Already the dark and endless ocean of the end
    is washing in through the breaches of our wounds,
    Already the flood is upon us.

    Oh build your ship of death, your little ark
    and furnish it with food, with little cakes, and wine
    for the dark flight down oblivion.
    Any takers - what do you make of it? Seems a strange sort of poem to me, loaded with a dark sort of irony - I'll post more on it later with some other observations if other people feel like responding.

  2. #2
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Coventry, West Midlands
    Posts
    6,292
    Blog Entries
    36
    This poem reminds me of the image of John Donne in the shroud that he had done shortly before his death.

    http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.harpers.org/media/image/blogs/misc/donne-shroud2.bmp&imgrefurl=http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/08/hbc-90000970&usg=__0ZIt5eEOEW5rNbZjYjMIDhn441U=&h=661& w=500&sz=969&hl=en&start=24&tbnid=c7wNprMJ7koiWM:& tbnh=138&tbnw=104&prev=/images%3Fq%3Djohn%2Bdonne%26gbv%3D2%26ndsp%3D18%26 hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D18


    There is a brave attempt to give the reader hope in both Lawrence and Donne. I've always like Bavarian Gentians as well. One of Lawrences redeeming qualities is his willingness to face life and death.

  3. #3
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    20,338
    Blog Entries
    244
    Oh cool. I think I've read this, but I can't remember it. I'll read it over the weekend.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

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

  4. #4
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    6,304
    Well, I guess this thread is killed now, since it is moved to an invisible corner of the forum.

  5. #5
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Coventry, West Midlands
    Posts
    6,292
    Blog Entries
    36
    Why was it moved?

    I agree its a strange poem - to say that Leavis called him the Priest of Love, there is a lack of God or anyone in this poem. It's oddly solitary, despite all the biblical imagery. It seems to have a secular kind of resurrection within it, though it nods to mythology and the bible.

    And where is the love he's been banging on about all his years. Perhaps thats the scary thing he's considering - the loneliness of death.

  6. #6
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    20,338
    Blog Entries
    244
    Quote Originally Posted by Paulclem View Post
    Why was it moved?

    I agree its a strange poem - to say that Leavis called him the Priest of Love, there is a lack of God or anyone in this poem. It's oddly solitary, despite all the biblical imagery. It seems to have a secular kind of resurrection within it, though it nods to mythology and the bible.

    And where is the love he's been banging on about all his years. Perhaps thats the scary thing he's considering - the loneliness of death.
    Leavis doesn't always get Lawrence correct. He was one of the first to bring Lawrence to the forefront, but a lot of criticism on Lawrence in the 1950', while a boost to his reputation, didn't get it completely right. It took the give and take of critics to settle into a better understanding of Lawrence.

    I wonder why this was moved? But we'll keep it alive.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

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

  7. #7
    Registered User jinjang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Out for a while
    Posts
    216
    Blog Entries
    3
    First time I read it, it gave me an odd pang with the word "oblivion" repeated.
    Second time, it rang me a sense of renewal in oneself, shedding old "fallen or bruised self." Loneliness is not bad if one transcends its negativity and takes it in detachment and peace. I felt indeed a kind of 'resurrection' after reading it.
    Walk, meditate, forget - Victor Hugo
    Life is bigger than literature - Michael Cunningham

  8. #8
    Moderator Logos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    6,377
    Blog Entries
    19
    Yes it was moved, with a 4 day re-direct from General Literature

    Please see:

    http://www.online-literature.com/for...ad.php?t=45800

    --
    Forum » Rules » FAQ » Tags » Blogs » Groups » Quizzes » e-Texts »
    ◕‿◕ currently reading Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark, Bill Dedman (2013)

    "the dogs bark but the caravan moves on" --Arab proverb
    .


  9. #9
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Coventry, West Midlands
    Posts
    6,292
    Blog Entries
    36
    JBI suggests there is a dark irony in the poem. t is crtainly ironic that a writerso obsessd with relationships should finally eschew them for this solitary voyage. There no sense of anyne at the other end either- just peace. I wonder if he finally thought that others were a kind of hell. Certainly he moved around to escape the taint of the establishment.

    It is also a curious image of resurrection too. A polished shell. What ae your thoughts on that?

  10. #10
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Coventry, West Midlands
    Posts
    6,292
    Blog Entries
    36
    Pardon my sausage finger netbook typos.

  11. #11
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    6,304
    Have you built your ship of death, O have you?
    O build your ship of death, for you will need it.

    The grim frost is at hand, when the apples will fall
    thick, almost thundrous, on the hardened earth.


    That to me seems a tad ironic - have you built your ship of death, you will need it - as if in death you will need such a ship, to get past anything into the abyss. Anyone think the apples though are a reference to Frost's After Apple Picking, or is that just too big a stretch?

    In that sense perhaps, if we call that an allusion, which could bring interesting things, though I am not sure if I can justify that (Frost wrote his poem in 1914, available here: http://www.online-literature.com/frost/741/).

    The apples falling though, the poem, though talking about death though, I would argue, talks more about life - have you built the ship of death, to me means something like have you picked the apples, or have you lived your life - the suicide comparison in the earlier part seems to suggest such a reference:

    With daggers, bodkins, bullets, man can make
    a bruise or break of exit for his life;
    but is that a quietus, O tell me, is it quietus?

    The ship, ironically, seems to dominate as a romantic image, but the irony falls on the state of the poet himself, I would argue, dying before his time in a sort of unfulfillment - I am told that his letters from this period betray a sort of pessimistic view on his life as sort of wasted, and on the futility of literature as a means to existence.

    But I think the question though, is what is really the point of the ship in this scheme - if the boat is sailing to oblivion, wouldn't said daggers and whatnot make just as quiet an ending - what is this piece to be found in the fullfilment of the journey? The poem to me suggests something completely different than, for instance this bit from Roethke:

    Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
    I'm martyr to a motion not my own;
    What's freedom for? To know eternity.
    I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
    But who would count eternity in days?
    These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
    (I measure time by how a body sways.)
    From I Knew a Woman by Theodore Roethke.

    Is Lawrence though, perhaps suggesting that he did not have time to build this ship, or to set things in order - is he suggesting that there is no peace for him on this voyage, and that it isn't a peaceful decent, but rather a violent, premature one, but even so, what is the significance of that, how is that any less "quietus" - hmm.
    Last edited by JBI; 07-24-2009 at 02:46 PM.

  12. #12
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Southern New Jersey, near Philadelphia
    Posts
    9,300
    Blog Entries
    3
    I have read this poem many times and I love it. I think he wrote it very late and in the time his own death was quite evident to all. I will comment later on. I don't have the time now, but DHL is my favorite author; so no doubt, I will find something to say about it. I will look up the time slot and the influences and what exactly was going on in DHL's life during this period.

    Now that I read it again, and plan to read the full version online tonight; I see I could interpret this in two ways. One is the burning down/rebirth - Phoenix idea, that dominated Lawrence's work; the other is his own actual physical mortality/immortality/death. I will go into details later on, when I get back home and have more time to respond.
    Last edited by Janine; 07-24-2009 at 04:53 PM.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

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

  13. #13
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Within the winds
    Posts
    8,217
    Blog Entries
    942
    Well the words Ship and Death have caught my interest. I will take a look at this poem as soon as I am able to do so.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  14. #14
    Registered User jinjang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Out for a while
    Posts
    216
    Blog Entries
    3
    And die the death, the long and painful death
    that lies between the old self and the new.
    It does not seem to me that the death here is our physical death but rather our mind death, a transition to a different world because you become a new person. A long and painful struggle to shed a rotten old self to become a fresh new self. I remember seeing fallen apples in autumn, they are mostly rotten.

    Already the dark and endless ocean of the end
    is washing in through the breaches of our wounds,
    Already the flood is upon us.

    Oh build your ship of death, your little ark
    and furnish it with food, with little cakes, and wine
    for the dark flight down oblivion.
    I am reading a few lines at at time and I may not see a whole picture yet.
    Noah's Ark is brought back to represent a sort of cleansing in small scale because it applies to an individual not a human race. One can shed and forget his or her rotten thoughts and habits, one may redeem himself with innocence and in oblivion.

    Quote Originally Posted by JBI
    The ship, ironically, seems to dominate as a romantic image, but the irony falls on the state of the poet himself, I would argue, dying before his time in a sort of unfulfillment - I am told that his letters from this period betray a sort of pessimistic view on his life as sort of wasted, and on the futility of literature as a means to existence.
    It makes sense with the quote you put up, but I did not sense pessimism. Maybe he is considering fatalism.

    With daggers, bodkins, bullets, man can make
    a bruise or break of exit for his life;
    but is that a quietus, O tell me, is it quietus?
    Is it part of the poem? I can't get to the link somehow. I could interpret this part as to say that he does not want to fight what is inevitable and because it is not quietus.

    Never mind my network was slow and let me read the complete poem first.
    Last edited by jinjang; 07-24-2009 at 08:15 PM.
    Walk, meditate, forget - Victor Hugo
    Life is bigger than literature - Michael Cunningham

  15. #15
    Registered User jinjang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Out for a while
    Posts
    216
    Blog Entries
    3
    I have to take back a lot of what I said. I read the whole poem and now I have a totally different interpretation. I withdraw from here and I apologize.

    I went to a library. The complete collection of his poems has two other versions of the poem in appendix, one of which is shorter.

    The shorter version has repetitions of "build your ship (Noah's Ark in my opinion), nothing matters, to prepare your longest journey to oblivion (heaven and complete peace), instead of not quietus (not death but hell) where you will wail in agony." What is in the quote is my impression from the shorter version.

    I think I prefer my first and second impressions, instead of the last one.
    Last edited by jinjang; 07-25-2009 at 08:19 AM. Reason: Incomplete explanation
    Walk, meditate, forget - Victor Hugo
    Life is bigger than literature - Michael Cunningham

Page 1 of 7 123456 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. The Death Fear is lessoned by killing another
    By coberst in forum Philosophical Literature
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 03-16-2009, 03:25 PM
  2. Crusoe
    By Unregistered in forum Robinson Crusoe
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-05-2007, 08:08 AM
  3. Food
    By art0 in forum General Writing
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-31-2007, 07:35 AM
  4. Regret Of Death.
    By spacetoon in forum Short Story Sharing
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-28-2007, 02:59 AM
  5. Muslims Thoughts about Death
    By Bittersweet in forum Religious Texts
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-16-2003, 03:03 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •