David Herbert Lawrence

Here you will find the Long Poem Cruelty and Love of poet David Herbert Lawrence

Cruelty and Love

What large, dark hands are those at the window 
Lifted, grasping in the yellow light 
Which makes its way through the curtain web 
At my heart to-night? 

Ah, only the leaves! So leave me at rest, 
In the west I see a redness come 
Over the evening's burning breast -- 
For now the pain is numb. 

The woodbine creeps abroad 
Calling low to her lover: 
The sunlit flirt who all the day 
Has poised above her lips in play 
And stolen kisses, shallow and gay 
Of dalliance, now has gone away 
-- She woos the moth with her sweet, low word, 
And when above her his broad wings hover 
Then her bright breast she will uncover 
And yeild her honey-drop to her lover. 

Into the yellow, evening glow 
Saunters a man from the farm below, 
Leans, and looks in at the low-built shed 
Where hangs the swallow's marriage bed. 
The bird lies warm against the wall. 
She glances quick her startled eyes 
Towards him, then she turns away 
Her small head, making warm display 
Of red upon the throat. Her terrors sway 
Her out of the nest's warm, busy ball, 
Whose plaintive cries start up as she flies 
In one blue stoop from out the sties 
Into the evening's empty hall. 

Oh, water-hen, beside the rushes 
Hide your quaint, unfading blushes, 
Still your quick tail, and lie as dead, 
Till the distance covers his dangerous tread. 

The rabbit presses back her ears, 
Turns back her liquid, anguished eyes 
And crouches low: then with wild spring 
Spurts from the terror of the oncoming 
To be choked back, the wire ring 
Her frantic effort throttling: 
Piteous brown ball of quivering fears! 

Ah soon in his large, hard hands she dies, 
And swings all loose to the swing of his walk. 
Yet calm and kindly are his eyes 
And ready to open in brown surprise 
Should I not answer to his talk 
Or should he my tears surmise. 

I hear his hand on the latch, and rise from my chair 
Watching the door open: he flashes bare 
His strong teeth in a smile, and flashes his eyes 
In a smile like triumph upon me; then careless-wise 
He flihgs the rabbit soft on the table board 
And comes towards me: ah, the uplifted sword 
Of his hand against my bosom, and oh, the broad 
Blade of his hand that raises my face to applaud 
His coming: he raises up my face to him 
And caresses my mouth with his fingers, smelling grim 
Of the rabbit's fur! God, I am caught in a snare! 
I know not what fine wire is round my throat, 
I only know I let him finger there 
My pulse of life, letting him nose like a stoat 
Who sniffs with joy before he drinks the blood: 
And down his mouth comes to my mouth, and down 
His dark bright eyes descend like a fiery hood 
Upon my mind: his mouth meets mine, and a flood 
Of sweet fire sweeps across me, so I drown 
Within him, die, and find death good.