D. H. Lawrence (1885 – 1930)

Lines from Lawrence’s poem “Manifesto”.

I remembered it as:

“A man is so afraid of strong feeling
And that fear is the root of all cruelty”

And the actual lines are:

“A man is so terrified of strong hunger
And this terror is the root of all cruelty”

It’s a poem about love and desire and a woman. It doesn’t make a lot of sense much of the time, but these lines hit me hard and have stayed with me. The book was a pre-owned “Penguin” paperback of Lawrence’s poetry.

There was no help for me in that era. Who would read anything by Lawrence today? But in that era I was supposed to be reading everything. Let me give you a piece of advice, my children. You can’t do it.

Last night I got “A man is so” and “strong” and “the root of all cruelty” right. I couldn’t remember “terrified” and “hunger” and “terror”.

Lawrence was very good, on the other hand. He never joined the writer’s block community.  He lived in the next block.  He just wrote. And wrote. “The Rainbow” was good. “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, frankly, was a bit of a bore.  I enjoyed “The Plumed Serpent” and “Kangaroo”. And “Sons And Lovers” and “Women In Love” were good old, nineteenth century novel-ing at it’s finest.  They’re 20th Century novels but you’re not going to hold us for that, are you?

“They think I’m an ordinary man. But I am not an ordinary man.” That’s something I remember Lawrence saying, quoted in some book I was reading.  What does that tell you about D.H. Lawrence?  Not much.  Except he had no doubt about it.

It doesn’t matter now. We were afraid of that but this is the best copy we could afford while the site is down.

These tulips keep popping up too.  They’re getting into everything.


Author: Steven Brown


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