Bare Almond Trees

A Poem by D. H. Lawrence

 

Today's selection from the poetry books of Black Sparrow Books and David R. Godine, Publisher, is from D. H. Lawrence's Birds, Beasts and Flowers, published in 2007.

 

 

 

Bare Almond Trees

 

Wet almond trees, in the rain,

Like iron sticking grimly out of earth;

Black almond trunks, in the rain,

Like iron implements twisted, hideous, out of the earth,

Out of the deep, soft fledge of Sicilian winter-green,

Earth-grass uneatable,

Almond trunks curving blackly, iron-dark, climbing the slopes.

 

Almond tree, beneath the terrace rail,

Black, rusted, iron trunk,

You have welded your thin stems finer,

Like steel, like sensitive steel in the air,

Grey, lavender, sensitive steel, curving thinly and brittly up

            in a parabola.

 

What are you doing in the December rain?

Have you a strange electric sensitiveness in your steel tips?

Do you feel the air for electric influences

Like some strange magnetic apparatus?

Do you take in messages, in some strange code,

From heaven's wolfish, wandering electricity, that prowls so

            constantly round Etna?

Do you take the whisper of sulphur from the air?

Do you hear the chemical accents of the Sun?

Do you telephone the roar of the waters-over-the-earth?

And from all this, do you make calculations?

 

Sicily, December's Sicily in a mass of rain

With iron branching blackly, rusted like old, twisted implements

And brandishing and stooping over earth's wintry fledge, climbing

            the slopes

Of uneatable soft green!

 

 

D.H. Lawrence, "Bare Almond Trees" from Birds, Beasts and Flowers. Copyright © (1920) by Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith, Inc. Copyright © (1957) renewed by Frieda Lawrence Ravagli. Reprinted by arrangement with Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc., and with the permission of Black Sparrow Books and David R. Godine, Publisher, Bostonwww.blacksparrowbooks.com

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.