“Dipped Into Oblivion”

A Poem by D. H. Lawrence

A Poem by D. H. Lawrence

I have always had a kind of love/hate relationship with D. H. Lawrence. On the minus side, he has said stupid things about writers I particularly admire, such as this excerpt from a letter mentioning Anton Chekhov: “a second-rate writer and a willy wet-leg.” On the plus side hew has written some great novels (Sons and Lovers), essays, and poetry. Here is a particularly nice poem entitled “The Phoenix”:

  Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, cancelled,
  made nothing?
  Are you willing to be made nothing?
  dipped into oblivion?
  If not, you will never really change.
  The phoenix renews her youth
  only when she is burnt, burnt alive, burnt down
  to hot and flocculent ash.
  Then the small stirring of a new small bub in the nest
  with strands of down like floating ash
  shows that she is renewing her youth like the eagle,
  immortal bird.