Poem introduction

I like to create arguments in my poems. It’s a form of rebellion, questioning norms and dyed-in-the wool conventions... This cycle of poems circulates, teases and tugs at some of the ideas advocated by D. H. Lawrence, who himself contradicts, seduces and infuriates me as a reader... His novella The Fox encapsulates most of his key ideas and themes and we can see these ideas thrashing their way through his other novels such as Women in Love... I was also thinking about acting, and especially the work of the playwright Pirandello when I wrote these poems.

We Discuss D. H. Lawrence’s Story, The Fox

I talk about how I almost believed…

You said it must have been
the dapple of the woods the stranger brought in,
dapple being invasive as well as sly and persuasive,
and knowing how the pine trees crouch blackly.

But I said no, it was more than that,
unable to pin down,
there was always the suspicion 
of a dud inside the melody of the firelight.

To settle, we set the scenario up, rolled the dice.
I played Bamford you played March.
Both of us in our mans’ overcoats,
breeched and booted, we sat contemplating.
This brought immediacy to the forefront.
What would we have done when faced?

You made up some excuse when we both knew.
I let you do what you had to do,
which was fetch the wood from the wood shed,
while I prepared the feed for the Plymouths 
and Wyandottes before warming the teapot.
Turning down the bed, 
such a gorgeous marshmallow white,
you made the best of Sons and Lovers,
sulphur daffodils, brilliant deathbed .
I watched your breasts swing as you dropped your shift
and thought of our Lurcher bitch suckling her pups,
by the crumpled orange of a dying range.

Inside my head, his words came hard, came fast,
filled my mouth, in all the heat, came up beautiful.
‘Thin little wild crocuses mauve and striped,
The narcissi hung their winter stars.’

I swallowed hard, you sighed; in the copse a triangle shifted.
Ghirlanda’s in bed, I reflected on how he would have loved
this or not loved this, depending on the thickness of his mood.

The dark was tough on us. I made a last stab 
as streaks faded and starlight shuttered.
You became pragmatic saying, 
‘Well then, that’s Lawrence, one hand held out, 
making a flower show, the other clenched, 
quick jab in our faces with his fist.’

Then we kissed.


from Signs of Early Man (Templar, 2009), © Jane Weir 2009, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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Recordings

Jane Weir Downloads

1On the Recommendation of Ovid We Tried a Weasel

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2In Commemoration of a Live Birth

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3When Considering Whether to Suckle

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4Quinces

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5Leonardo's Skull

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6The Star of Verona

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7Slip Road with Indigo Sky and Pussy Willows

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8Snout of the Mole

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9With Matt Staring at Ferrets

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10Making Calico Canvases for Heddle

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11Practising on Your Mother

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12English Book

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13Heights of Abraham

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14A Hank of Yellow Wool in a Landscape

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15Poppies

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161914, Working With Red in a Field Hospital, Belgium

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17Stricken Fields

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18I'm Trying to Make Gnocchi for Angelina for Old Times Sake

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19Recovering

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20Stomacher

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21Hat

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22Cigar

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23We Discuss D.H. Lawrence's Story, The Fox

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24Reading Your Spring Letter, Postmarked Middleton - By - Wirksworth

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25Stood At Alan Bates' Grave

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26There, In An Ercol Bottom Draw

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