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Short poem

David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930)

Red Geranium and Godly Mignonette

              1Imagine that any mind ever thought a red geranium!
              2As if the redness of a red geranium could be anything but a sensual experience
              3and as if sensual experience could take place before there were any senses.
              4We know that even God could not imagine the redness of a red geranium
              5nor the smell of mignonette
              6when geraniums were not, and mignonette neither.
              7And even when they were, even God would have to have a nose to smell at the mignonette.
              8You can't imagine the Holy Ghost sniffing at cherry-pie heliotrope.
              9Or the Most High, during the coal age, cudgelling his mighty brains
            10even if he had any brains: straining his mighty mind
            11to think, among the moss and mud of lizards and mastodons
            12to think out, in the abstract, when all was twilit green and muddy:
            13"Now there shall be tum-tiddly-um, and tum-tiddly um,
            14hey-presto! scarlet geranium!"

            15We know it couldn't be done.

            16But imagine, among the mud and the mastodons
            17god sighing and yearning with tremendous creative yearning, in that dark green mess
            18oh, for some other beauty, some other beauty
            19that blossomed at last, red geranium, and mignonette.


5] mignonette: little herb with green-yellow flowers.

8] heliotrope: purple-flowered herb of the borage family.

14] hey-presto! magician's exclamation as the trick is done.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: D. H. Lawrence, Last Poems, ed. Richard Aldington (London: Martin Secker, 1933): 29-30. PR 6023 A93 A17 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1933
Publication date note: See Roberts A62
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2000.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/8

Composition date: October 1929
Composition date note: See Ellis, 602
Form: Free Verse

Other poems by David Herbert Lawrence