Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gloire de Dijon

I thought a long time ago, "I hate roses." I was never really a big fan of them, and of course, through my study of symbolism, several friends and I used to laugh about how giving roses to someone was like giving someone sex organs. It was funny when I first thought about it, but since then, I have just sort of not liked roses because they seemed to be so overdone, everywhere and meaningless. "A rose is a rose is a rose." And yet, with all of my reading of Yeats and Lawrence this past week, I have discovered that I may like one rather specific rose, the gloire de dijon.I was reading this poem by Lawrence entitled "Gloire de Dijon." I realized that he was talking about a flower, but I did not know what find. Early, having looked up images of honeysuckle and snap-dragons, I decided to go ahead and find out more information about this particular flower, which is from the rose family. It would seem that I can now say that I like roses, at least this particular one. I think its combination of pink and orange is very pretty.

Here is Lawrence's poem:


When she rises in the morning
I linger to watch her;
She spread the bath-cloth underneath the window
And the sunbeams catch her
Glistening white on the shoulders,
While down her sides the mellow
Golden shadow glows as
She stoops to the sponge, and her swung breasts
Sway like full-blown yellow
Gloire de Dijon roses.

She drips herself with water, and her shoulders
Glisten as silver, they crumple up
Like wet and falling roses, and I listen
For the sluicing of their rain-dishevelled petals.
In the window full of sunlight
Concentrates her golden shadow
Fold on fold, until it glows as
Mellow as the glory roses.

Lawrence's poem is part of his collection, Look! We Have Come Through!, which was written during his early affair with Frieda and their trip to the continent prior to World War I. It is also part of a larger rose sequence of poems, which may offer more contexts if you are interested in reading more.

Lawrence, D. H. "Gloire de Dijon." Complete Poems. New York: Penguin Books, 1971. 217.

1 comment:

beamish said...

i love it!