On D.H. Lawrence’s ‘The Rainbow’

Was woman made of man, or man of woman?
Is life numinous or are we mere automaton?

If the latter, then what keeps the ‘forces’ unified?
So, no, it’s consummation: Being multiplied

Infinite times, so oneness with the infinite.
These are the themes ‘The Rainbow’ holds within it…

Ursula’s mental independence, elicited,
Makes her reject her pervert teacher Winifred,

As well as the women’s movement, brought to life
Solely by men’s weakness. Yet no wife,

She can’t find a man who’s free of stale bureaucracy;
And so she grows to bitterly hate democracy.

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Henry Williamson’s ‘The Dark Lantern’ (‘A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight’ Book 1)

An amazing précis of the late Victorian, encompassing so much;
Its characters being Types, yet blooded figures you could almost touch,

From quiet, malleable Hetty, and her Wooster-like brother Hughie,
And their father, a neo-Falstaffian wag who thinks Tennyson is phooey,

An embodiment of steamships and the City, such malarkey;
While Hetty’s husband Richard manifests soft-patriarchy,

A near-autistic categoriser of butterflies and gloom.
And yet, already quickening inside of Hetty’s womb

Is the Blackshirt generation, destined to shake the shoals of the earth
(Only at the end of the book does the star of the sequence arrive at birth.)

D.H. Lawrence’s The Trespasser

This story is based on real events (its Wagnerian echoes seem forced).
Helena is a modern girl who flees both cold and warmth;

An anemone, to her, is just a kaleidoscopic shape
But, for her lover Siegmund, is a thing to evaluate;

He gets beneath its skin; but the flesh is distasteful to her,
She is positively anaemic, exhausts her passions in a blur,

Til Siegmund’s violin is the only thing that still remains of him.
The cold condemning eyes of his wife, the grave eyes of his children

No longer matter now, for he is in an empty place
(Niflheim, limbo) forgetting Helena’s empty face.

Plato’s Euthyphro

This is a frustrating dialogue, because Euthyphro throws in the towel
Before Socrates has properly interrogated him (technically, a foul).

Socrates does not understand the Homeric account of the gods.
That disagreements should arise among them is not particularly odd;

The essential mission of Aryan gods is eternal war against Entropy,
Decreasing the amount of which in the cosmos is true definition of piety.

In this the gods are as one, and what is loved by them all is pious;
They follow an imperative beyond themselves, in spite of Socrates’ bias.

The gods follow the ultimate good (that they love it is one of its attributes,
But not however its essence), else sans meaning would be their attitudes.

There is no ‘Euthyphro dilemma’, for you see both gods and men
Follow something higher (call it ‘good’), whose essence is beyond them.

We help the gods to help the good, not the other way around;
This dialogue will clarify that – frustrating, yet profound.

Hermann Hesse’s Peter Camenzind

This Bildungsroman is a tale of the Alps, of the Föhn that drives men wild,
Where the Northern Geist and the wine of the South are uneasily reconciled,

Mixing perhaps in the yodel, and in stories of beasts at the zoo
Told by bulbous-headed cripple Boppi; but Peter’s life only turns True

When he finally returns to his village, to embark on his ultimate work;
And there, reconciled to his Heimat, can see his way out of the murk.

William Morris’ The Wood Beyond the World

Walter leaves his homeland after a series of waking dreams
In which he sees a loathsome dwarf, a maiden and a queen.

In a strange erratic wilderness he is drawn into intrigues
And must win through to victory, or, as the Germans say: Sieg.

Perhaps it’s an homage to Chrétien de Troyes, this lovely chivalraic tale
Whose pseudo-archaic style will cause some readers to gnash or wail;

Well, we found his stylings a great delight, no need whatever to dodge them;
But then one of our favourite books, you see, is The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson…

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Knut Hamsun’s Victoria

You could write off the title character as little more than a meagre strumpet,
Toying around with male affections like a sambo plays the trumpet.

But Hamsun, that master of the soul, turns it all the way around,
So Victoria’s character is revealed as something lambent and profound.

Hamsun’s Nietzschean contempt for the upper classes of his day,
Which would later lead him to favour the meritocratic NS way,

Caused him to parody decadent cucks in this early but excellent book
Written in 1898…lest his later views be mistook.

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