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D.H. Lawrence (1885–1930).  New Poems.  1916.

14. Under the Oak


YOU, if you were sensible,  
When I tell you the stars flash signals, each one dreadful,  
You would not turn and answer me  
“The night is wonderful.”  
  
Even you, if you knew          5
How this darkness soaks me through and through, and infuses  
Unholy fear in my vapour, you would pause to distinguish  
What hurts, from what amuses.  
  
For I tell you  
Beneath this powerful tree, my whole soul’s fluid   10
Oozes away from me as a sacrifice steam  
At the knife of a Druid.  
  
Again I tell you, I bleed, I am bound with withies,  
My life runs out.  
I tell you my blood runs out on the floor of this oak,   15
Gout upon gout.  
  
Above me springs the blood-born mistletoe  
In the shady smoke.  
But who are you, twittering to and fro  
Beneath the oak?   20
  
What thing better are you, what worse?  
What have you to do with the mysteries  
Of this ancient place, of my ancient curse?  
What place have you in my histories?  
No profanes - sacred
 
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