Time to shove in a new selection for the Off the Shelf Page before the month is completely gone. I recently ordered several poetry collections on sale, to replace lost originals or read a few new authors. Among them was a slim and cheap volume of T.S. Eliot, one of the most influential and widely read poets of the 20th Century. I'm not going to bother giving his bio as I imagine anyone who writes or reads poetry knows his name and has been exposed to his work, which is not very voluminous. Nonetheless, sometimes a rereading of words absorbed years ago reveals something new and valuable, and so it was for me thumbing through this new book of old poems of Eliot's. I've selected a portion of the first of his lengthy Four Quartets (Burnt Norton) the work Eliot considered his best, and responsible for his 1948 Nobel Prize for Literature.
You'll find it here, in the Off The Shelf Archive for September
And to make room for Eliot, below is the previous selection, two shorter poems by D.H. Lawrence. As always feel free to make comments on either selection here, as comments are disabled off the main page, and suggestions for next time are always welcome.
Two Short Poems by D.H. Lawrence
Won’t It Be Strange—?
Won’t it be strange, when the nurse brings the newborn
to the proud father, and shows its little, webbed greenish
made to smite the waters behind it?
or the round wild vivid eye of a wild goose staring
out of fathomless skies and seas?
or when it utters that undaunted little bird-cry
of one who will settle on ice-bergs, and honk across the
And when the father says: This is none of mine!
Woman, where got you this little beast?—
will there be a whistle of wings in the air; and an icy
will the singing of swans, high up, high up, invisible
break the drums of his ears
and leave him forever listening for the answer?
The Gods! The Gods!
People were bathing and posturing themselves on the
and all was dreary, great robot limbs, robot breasts
robot voices, robot even the gay umbrellas.
But a woman, shy and alone, was washing herself under
and the glimmer of the presence of the gods was like
and like water-lilies.
by D.H. Lawrence
Image: Mother, by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida
1895, Oil on canvas