Lawrence Limericks are Here

I once wrote a series of limericks about DH Lawrence’s changing fortunes.  It seemed to me very sad that Lawrence was so reviled in his lifetime for simply speaking the truth – as he saw it – about sex: and that now, since the zeitgeist has completely overtaken him, the poor man is all-but forgotten.   I know, I know – limericks are not exactly the most appropriate form for such a writer – but perhaps that’s the point.

Lawrence Limericks
They don’t give a fig about Lawrence
now sex is cascading in torrents
it’s harder to credit
that folk who’d not read it
once looked on his work with abhorrence.

They don’t give a damn about Dave
the Messiah who came up to save
our bodies from virtue
that bodice can hurt you
– but now he just spins in his grave.

His family christened him Bert
but sadly considered it dirt
the stuff that he wrote
‘it’s filth’ – and I quote
a word which must surely have hurt.

He flirted with Bloomsbury briefly
they loved his costumery chiefly
Virginia’s impressed
by the man with no vest
but his chest was infected with TB

And that was his downfall at last

though critics continued to blast

the hot air of the priggish

his fame grew quite biggish

respected in spite of his caste

but he died when the war was yet young

the Battle of Britain begun

while we stood alone

his spirit had flown

the air could not enter his lung.

And then, in the sixties, reborn!

The Chatterley verdict’s ‘not porn’

now naked men tussle

in films by Ken Russell

they no longer held you in scorn

But now? Now that Harry’s met Sally?

It doesn’t take much to get pally

and everyone’s grabbing

to have what she’s having

and that’s not at all up your alley.

And so, DHL, RIP

much better than sex on TV;

a seer of souls

hauled under the coals

a painter of flowers

and soul-mate of ploughers

whatever death gives you

your beauty outlives you –

for those who have bodies to see.

Kirk out

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Filed under Book reviews, poems

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