Blatant Bathers Don’t Know


Oh the handsome bluey-brown bodies, they might just as well be gutta-percha,
and the reddened limbs red india-rubber tubing, inflated,
and the half-hidden private parts just a little brass tap, robinetto,
turned on for different purposes.

They call it health; it looks like nullity.

Only here and there a pair of eyes, haunted, stares out as if asking:
Where then is life?

Forte dei Marmi

The evening sulks along the shore, the reddening sun
reddens still more on the blatant bodies of these all-but-naked, sea-bathing city people.

Let me tell you that the sun is alive, and can be angry,
and the sea is alive, and can sulk,
and the air is alive, and can deny us as a woman can.

But the blatant bathers don’t know, they know nothing;
the vibration of the motor-car has bruised their insensitive bottoms
into rubber-like deadness, Dunlop inflated unconcern.

D. H. Lawrence, The complete poems of D.H.Lawrence volume II, London: Heinemann, 1964.

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