Tag Archives: DH Lawrence

Giving Ourselves Away

‘striped and golden for her own glory…’
Self-Protection 

When science starts to be interpretive
It is more unscientific even than mysticism. 
To make self-preservation and self-protection the first law of existence
Is about as scientific as making suicide the first law of existence,
And amounts to very much the same thing. 

A nightingale singing at the top of his voice
Is neither hiding himself nor preserving himself nor propagating his species;
He is giving himself away in every sense of the word;
And obviously, it is the culminating point of his existence. 

A tiger is striped and golden for his own glory.
He would certainly be much more invisible if he were grey-green.
And I don’t suppose the ichthyosaurus sparkled like the humming-bird,
No doubt he was khaki-coloured with muddy protective colouration,
So why didn’t he survive? 

As a matter of fact, the only creatures that seem to survive
Are those that give themselves away in flash and sparkle
And gay flicker of joyful life;
Those that go glittering abroad
With a bit of splendour. 

Even mice play quite beautifully at shadows,
And some of them are brilliantly piebald. 

I expect the dodo looked like a clod,
A drab and dingy bird.   


D.H. Lawrence

thanks to the poet Mark Nepo for pointing me in the direction of this poem

with his concept of ‘exquisite risk’

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