Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Little Lawrence for the New Year

by D.H. Lawrence

The dawn was apple-green,

The sky was green wine held up in the sun,
The moon was a golden petal between.

She opened her eyes, and green
They shone, clear like flowers undone
For the first time, now for the first time seen.

Chance may have brought this poem and I together, but I think it was the one I needed today. With a quick skim of the page, my eyes already form a disconnect between the stanzas. They are too different to maintain a steady flow between themselves. I find myself being told two different stories, both beautiful, but one that seems to stand out more than the other.

Lawrence's use of pronouns in the second stanza instead of specific nouns (e.g., "the dawn," "the sky,") makes the subject become a generalization that the reader can fill in with his or her variation of "she." For some, they may carry on the idea of nature and the dawning of a new day. Others, however, may see a more literal she - a woman. Or perhaps, more accurately, the transformation of a girl to a woman.

Lawrence tells us that this mysterious she has "green" eyes that "shone, clear like flowers undone." People who are new to something are often said to be green, so this woman's eyes are new to the new world that awaits her after college, in the wake of her this-is-really-the beginning-of-my-life epiphany. She may be new to life, but her eyes are open and she longs for growth just like flowers opening their leaves to the sunlight for the first time. "Now for the first time seen" this woman is starting to see the world for what it really is as she decides to carve her own place in it.

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