You will not love me with an armful of lilies, or ever…
Ah, you stack of white lilies, all white and gold,
I am adrift as a sunbeam, and without form
Or having, save I light on you to warm
Your pallor into radiance, flush your cold
White beauty into incandescence: you
Are not a stack of white lilies to-night, but a white
And clustered star transfigured by me to-night,
And lighting these ruddy leaves like a star dropped through
The slender bare arms of the branches, your tire-maidens
Who lift swart arms to fend me off; but I come
Like a wind of fire upon you, like to some
Stray whitebeam who on you his fire unladens.
And you are a glistening toadstool shining here
Among the crumpled beech-leaves phosphorescent,
My stack of white lilies burning incandescent
Of me, a soft white star among the leaves, my dear.
Is it with pain, my dear, that you shudder so?
Is it because I have hurt you with pain, my dear?
Did I shiver?—Nay, truly I did not know—
A dewdrop may-be splashed on my face down here.
Why even now you speak through close-shut teeth.
I have been too much for you—Ah, I remember!
The ground is a little chilly underneath
The leaves—and, dear, you consume me all to an ember.
You hold yourself all hard as if my kisses
Hurt as I gave them—you put me away—
Ah never I put you away: yet each kiss hisses
Hot as a drop of fire wastes me away.
I am ashamed, you wanted me not to-night—
Nay, it is always so, you sigh with me.
Your radiance dims when I draw too near, and my free
Fire enters your petals like death, you wilt dead white.
Ah, I do know, and I am deep ashamed;
You love me while I hover tenderly
Like clinging sunbeams kissing you: but see
When I close in fire upon you, and you are flamed
With the swiftest fire of my love, you are destroyed.
’Tis a degradation deep to me, that my best
Soul’s whitest lightning which should bright attest
God stepping down to earth in one white stride,
Means only to you a clogged, numb burden of flesh
Heavy to bear, even heavy to uprear
Again from earth, like lilies wilted and sere
Flagged on the floor, that before stood up so fresh.
Love Poems by DH Lawrence
Love Art – Portrait of a Woman (1910) by Egon Schiele. From The MET museum.