In all our sanctuaries we sit at risk

Shavings from The Rainbow



What is God, after all ?

If maggots in a dead dog

be but God kissing carrion,

what then is not God ?


And when the war began

it seemed that the poles

of the universe were cracking

and the whole

must go tumbling

into the bottomless pit.


You feel an agony of helplessness.

You can do nothing.

Vaguely you know

the huge powers of the world

are rolling and crashing together,

darkly, clumsily, stupidly,

yet colossal,

so that you’re brushed along,

almost as dust,


swirling like dust !


Can you

with your own hands

fight the vast forces of the earth

as they crash and roll,

can you hold the hills in their places ?

You want to fight

with your own warm hands

against the whole.

For what is not

God, after all ?


Rogan Wolf, February 2017


The vast majority of the words of this poem were first written in prose by DH Lawrence. They occur in three separate passages towards the end of Chapter XII of Lawrence’s great novel “The Rainbow.” The war he was referring to was the Boer War. In turn, Lawrence’s reference in the first few lines here to “maggots in a dead dog” comes from “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, Act II, Scene 2.