“Bei Hennef”

rtb2.jpg In the Introduction to Reading the Bible I wrote:

“My general notion of literature includes these claims: literature is about the world, interpretation is a creative act, intention is a necessary condition for writing of any kind, there are four focal points for any work of literature: poet, text, world, and reader.”

I still believe those claims, and in reading the love poem below it helps to know more about the world (context) Lawrence inhabited when he wrote the poem. As readers,  I hope you will contribute to the meaning of the poem by sharing your responses!

Aerial view of Hennef, Germany, in the foregro...

Aerial view of Hennef, Germany, in the foreground are river Sieg and Bundesautobahn 560. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bei Hennef

D. H. Lawrence

The little river twittering in the twilight,
The wan, wondering look of the pale sky,
This is almost bliss.

And everything shut up and gone to sleep,
All the troubles and anxieties and pain
Gone under the twilight.

Only the twilight now, and the soft “Sh!” of the river
That will last forever.

And at last I know my love for you is here,
I can see it all, it is whole like the twilight,
It is large, so large, I could not see it before
Because of the little lights and flickers and interruptions,
Troubles, anxieties, and pains.

You are the call and I am the answer,
You are the wish, and I the fulfillment,
You are the night, and I the day.
What else—it is perfect enough,
It is perfectly complete,
You and I.
Strange, how we suffer in spite of this!

This poem is in the public domain.

About This Poem

“Bei Hennef” was published in Love Poems and Others (Duckworth and Co., 1913).
David Herbert Lawrence was born in England on September 11, 1885. He published several volumes of poetry, including Last Poems (1932) and The Ship of Death (1933). He died on March 2, 1930.
Poetry by Lawrence

The Collected Poetry of D. H. Lawrence
(Neeland Media, 2013)

8 thoughts on ““Bei Hennef”

  1. Ken sends this from Ireland : “Wasn’t familiar with the poem. More concise
    and economical in his use of language than 
    much of his poetry.. Beautifully unresolved.
    How the wanting never ends, the striving for
    what can never be achieved, has already been
    achieved never ends; the uncertainty that it
    might end,will undeniably end and just enough
    said when the poem ends. Perfect/ almost. . .

    Two days outside County Sligo. Rereading Yeats 
    “Wild Swans at Innisfree” That elusive sense of peace
    and resolution almost attained.”


  2. True that suffering is often part of living, but I don’t think DH was after that general idea, tsa42, but more likely the specific suffering he felt as the result of a love relationship that had to wait to be accepted/formalized!


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