D H Lawrence poem

With apologies to anyone who has a subscription to my page, you must be being bombarded with emails. I’m working tomorrow you’ll be pleased to hear.
This is for BrendanO by way of Cymbers who shouldn’t read it because she doesn’t like cats and has been warned already. But Bilby, and others, will like it a lot I hope.
I read this poem as a teenager. And loved it.
I am happy that I do. Sometimes I think my fifteen-year-old self had pretty good ideas. Mind you, she liked Hemingway…

The Mountain Lion
D.H. Lawrence (1885 -1930)

Climbing through the January snow, into the Lobo canyon
Dark grow the spruce-trees, blue is the balsam, water sounds
still unfrozen, and the trail is still evident.

Two men!
Men! The only animal in the world to fear!

They hesitate.
We hesitate.
They have a gun.
We have no gun.

Then we all advance, to meet.

Two Mexicans, strangers, emerging out of tile dark and snow
and inwardness of the Lobo valley.
What are you doing here on this vanishing trail’?

What is he carrying?
Something yellow.
A deer?

Que tiene, amigo?
Leon –
He smiles, foolishly, as if he were caught doing wrong.
And we smile, foolishly, as if we didn’t know.
He is quite gentle and dark-faced.

It is a mountain lion,
A long, long slim cat, yellow like a lioness.
He trapped her this morning, he says, smiling foolishly.

Lift up her face,
Her round, bright face, bright as frost.
Her round, fine-fashioned head, with two dead ears;
And stripes in the brilliant frost of her face, sharp, fine dark rays,
Dark, keen, fine eyes in the brilliant frost of her face.
Beautiful dead eyes.

Hermoso es!

They go out towards the open;
We go on into the gloom of Lobo.
And above the trees I found her lair,
A hole in the blood-orange brilliant rocks that stick up, a little cave,
And bones, and twigs, and a perilous ascent.

So, she will never leap up that way again, with the yellow
flash of a mountain lion’s long shoot!
And her bright striped frost-face will never watch any more,
out of the shadow of the cave in the blood-orange rock,
Above the trees of the Lobo dark valley-mouth!

Instead, I look out.
And out to the dim of the desert, like a dream, never real;
To the snow of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the ice of
the mountains of Picoris,
And near across at the opposite steep of snow, green trees
motionless standing in snow, like a Christmas toy.

And I think in this empty world there was room for me and
a mountain lion.
And I think in the world beyond, how easily we might spare
a million or two of humans
And never miss them.
Yet what a gap in the world, the missing white frost-face of
that slim yellow mountain lion!

16 thoughts on “D H Lawrence poem

  1. It strikes a conservation note too doesn’t it. We, as a species keep on and on increasing, and taking the habitats of other animals, and upsetting nature’s balance.
    Hey, hark at me. Can you imagine me saying that on MyT? I can’t!!!

  2. Heartbreaking poem. I read it years ago and find it even more poignant today. There again, we are the most important species on the planet aren’t we? Makes me feel ill.

    • “we are the most important species on the planet aren’t we? ”
      Are we? Self-important maybe. Intelligence does not, in my book, equate with importance. Or in any sphere come to think of it.
      Not sure what to make of the fact that it is this poem that has finally drawn you to comment here!!!!

  3. Have you read “Hurt Hawks”, Isobel? Not the same thing at all, but reading this reminded me of the poem. I don’t know whether it’s a good poem, but I love it (in a masochistic sort of way!).

  4. A poem that speaks to you is a good poem.
    Tho’ I find that difficult to say to any admirers of Patience Strong. Have you read A Suitable Boy? The Lady Baby references reduced me to tears of laughter.
    Not so this poem. I think it’s terrific. Thank-you for showing it to me. Now I want to quote the lines I liked best near the beginning about the trailing wing, but don’t know how to go back without losing what I’ve typed.
    This is the line that got me hooked:
    “The wing trails like a banner in defeat,”
    As the youth of today would say, like, wow!

  5. “With apologies to anyone who has a subscription to my page, you must be being bombarded with emails-”
    not me…. ;(

    Lovely thought provoking poem , Isobel.

  6. “we are the most important species on the planet aren’t we? ”

    That was ironic, Isobel. 🙂 I’m glad you liked the poem.

    ‘A suitable Boy’. I don’t remember that much about it, but some parts amused me and others were tedious. Excuse my ignorance, but I’m puzzled about the connection.

    “Not sure what to make of the fact that it is this poem that has finally drawn you to comment here!!!!”

    It was the first post I came across and as the poem is familiar to me, I commented. I did, however, comment on your lamb/duck/chook/alpaca post and will no doubt, in time, get round to some others! 🙂

  7. Pseu, don’t you get an email that tells you when I have put up a new post?
    I meant that I have put up quite a few recently and that you would have been emailed about them. No?

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