By M. Lockwood
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Extra info for A Study of the Poems of D. H. Lawrence: Thinking in Poetry
The setting and situation resemble the opening of The White Peacock ('I stood watching the shadowy fish slide through the gloom of the mill-pond'), but in the poem the young man who begins by passively and fancifully extolling the natural surroundings of common and pond, seeing in it, literally, only the reflection of himself and his own soul, is shocked into plunging into the water, and into the vital flow of the physical world, by the sudden realization of his own unreality apart from it. We know the poem in two main versions: that which was printed in Amores (1916), and the very much altered version Lawrence produced in the winter of 1927-8 for Collected Poems.
Forster's and say that without the religious or philosophic strain the poetic, as defined, could not exist; 52 that the unique insights into the variety of selfhood are achieved precisely because Lawrence sees in this way his glimpses of the infinite One. 53 In Carat, and in Dreams Nascent, the structuring premise of the presence or passage of God, Time, or Life (whatever name one gives him) is necessary, in the last analysis, to the appreciation of the multiform flow of animate life. The poem called, in the collected edition, A Man Who Died (55-7) pursues the same preoccupations as the Transformations poems, as these are related to death.
47 He does not seem to have stayed long, however, in this intermediary stage of 'Pragmatism'. One can see from Campions or The Wild Common how botanical study, rather than any religious or philosophical instruction as such ('live' philosophy, as Lawrence suggests), might help him to square his scientifically-influenced materialism with a need fed by a Congregationalist upbringing to have a world which is God-invested (in The Rainbow, Ursula has her religious revelation during a botany class at College48 ): producing presumably 'a sort of crude but appeasing' pantheism or pluralism.