Archives for posts with tag: D. H. Lawrence

We all enjoyed the nice turnout on February 20th for Poetry and Lies! Starting around the Circle…

Abigail read sections from Robert Browning’s “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” which begins, “My first thought was, he lied in every word,/That hoary cripple with malicious eye.” Despite the inauspicious thought that the directions are a lie, Childe Roland follows them through a nightmare landscape.

Roger read “All the World’s a Stage” from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, which ends: “Last scene of all,/That ends this strange eventful history,/Is second childishness and mere oblivion,/Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” Roger commented that the poem is a protracted metaphor and metaphors may have truth in them, but they also have some exaggeration or lying.

Hazel read “Mary, I Believed thee True” by Thomas Moore, a more hopeful verse because although his beloved has proved false, the narrator believes in the possibility of true love, “For you, distracting woman, see/My peace is gone, my heart is broken./Fare thee well!”

Gail read Karin Gottshall’s “More Lies” which evokes a subtle melancholy and perhaps a wistful hope, “Sometimes I say I’m going to meet my sisters at the café—/even though I have no sister—just because it’s such/a beautiful thing to say.”

Linda read “Lies about Love” by D. H. Lawrence, which shows how love can change, “We are all liars, because/the truth of yesterday becomes a lie tomorrow,/whereas letters are fixed,/and we live by the letter of truth.”

Ken read “Where the Mind Is Without Fear” by Rabindranath Tagore, an idealistic poem of a world without lies, “Where words come out from the depth of truth/Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection/Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way.”

Christiana read Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones” in which a mother lies to her children, “Life is short, though I keep this from my children./Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine/in a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways/I’ll keep from my children.”

Cate read Seamus Heaney’s “A Dog Was Crying Tonight in Wicklow Also” which tells a fable of a dog going to tell Chukwu the human reaction to death, “But death and human beings took second place/When he trotted off the path and started barking/At an other dog in broad daylight just barking/Back at him from the far bank of a river.”

Ann read Jeffrey Harrison’s “Our Other Sister” in which the narrator lies to his younger sister about having an older sister, “Our other sister/had already taken shape, and we could not/call her back from her life far away/or tell her how badly we missed her.”

Carol brought “A Place Called Lie Lie Land” by Bob B on a subject which is much in all of our minds, “Once there was a nation, which/Boasted of its wealth and size./In that nation lies became truth,/And truth became known as lies.”

AnnaLee rounded up the Circle with Susan Dwyer’s “The Lies of Sleeping Dogs: A Fable,” read in memory of her dog, Zoe, “That they’re sleeping is the first lie:/but with the same mechanism by which/they sense your fear, you already know/that they’re pretending, feigning sleep/because they too are afraid.”

Please blog with us at

Spring 2018 Schedule
March 6: Poetry and Enjambment
April 17: Poetry and Timing
May 8: Poetry and Choices

~Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.


oppc_poster_0207Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!

Date: Tuesday, February 7
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave. (81st St.), 3rd Fl.
Theme: Poetry and Snakes

We’re back for the ninth season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people gather to examine the works of established poets. While there’s no instructor and this is not a workshop for personal writing, once a month OPPC gives everyone a place to become teachers and learners to explore the form, content, language and meaning of poetry. Since the circle started, participants have selected and discussed 955 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

Snakes! Yikes! It’s hard not to respond strongly to them and admire them for their mythic appearances in the Garden of Eden, the works of Dr. Freud, the flag of Mexico, the “don’t tread on me” sign, in the grass, and on the campaign trail of Donald Trump where he recited the lyrics of “The Snake,” an Al Wilson song written by Oscar Brown, suggesting the cold bloodedness of snakes and refugees. Because of their ability to shed their skin snakes are also a symbol of rebirth, transformation, and healing, fitting for the start of a new year.

AnnaLee loves “Snake” by D. H. Lawrence who had a great influence on his era’s views on sex, religion, and nature. In a humanist alternative to the Adam and Eve story, Lawrence’s 18-stanza poem opens with a man’s chance meeting with a poisonous snake:

A snake came to my water-trough 
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, 
To drink there.

Through alliteration, repetition, enjambment, and more, Lawrence evokes the snake’s slithery slow movements, the darting tongue, and how the creature slakes his thirst. Mr. Snake seems to own his world, until:

The voice of my education said to me 
He must be killed, 
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are 

The man wrestles with the familiar lessons: that he should fear the evil snake, that to like the creepy guy is perverse, and that not to kill him would be cowardly. The voices within him prevail, and he strikes the creature when its back is turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher, 
I picked up a clumsy log 
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

When the poem ends, the man recognizes he has made a mistake. He regrets his sin of narrow-mindedness and must atone.

For he seemed to me again like a king, 
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld, 
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords 
Of life. 
And I have something to expiate: 
A pettiness.

One of Abigail’s favorite snake poems is Shel Silverstein’s “Boa Constrictor”:

Oh, I’m being eaten 
By a boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
I’m being eaten by a boa constrictor,
And I don’t like it–one bit.
Well, what do you know?
It’s nibblin’ my toe.
Oh, gee,
It’s up to my knee.
Oh my,
It’s up to my thigh.
Oh, fiddle,
It’s up to my middle.
Oh, heck,
It’s up to my neck.
Oh, dread,
It’s upmmmmmmmmmmffffffffff . . .

What are your thoughts on the subject of snakes in poetry? Please blog with us here by clicking on the small speech balloon near the title of this post. Our url is

Spring 2017 Schedule:
February 7, Poetry and Snakes
March 7, Poetry and Anaphora
April 18, Poetry and Silence
May 9, Poetry and Theft

Abigail Burnham Bloom and  AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.