“THE BODY OF GOD”

Here are two further “Last Poems” of D. H. Lawrence on the subject of the demiurge:

                          DEMIURGE
They say that reality exists only in the spirit 
that corporal existence is a kind of death
that pure being is bodiless 
that the idea of form precedes the form substantial.

But what nonsense it is! 
as if any mind could have imagined a lobster 
dozing in the under-deeps, the reaching out a savage and iron claw!

Even the mind of God can only imagine 
those things that have become themselves: 
bodies and presences, here and now, creatures with a foothold in 
creation 
even if only it is a lobster on tip-toe.

Religion knows better than philosophy.
Religion knows that Jesus was never Jesus 
till he was born from a womb, and ate soup and bread 
and grew up, and became, in  the wonder of creation, Jesus, 
with body and with needs and a lovely spirit.
  

For the contemporary reader puzzled by the idea of the spirit preceding the body Lawrence is reacting to neo- platonic ideas and the bodiless spirituality of his upbringing suppressing the body in favour of the spirit. Ever a non-Christian (though raised on the Bible, a Congregationalist) he had yet hopes in his last years that the Christian idea of the resurrection as the risen body might become empowering for the generation, which following 1914 had known so much sacrifice and death.

                            THE BODY OF GOD

God is the great urge that has not yet found a body
but urges towards incarnation with the great creative urge,

And becomes at last a clove carnation: lo! that is god!
And becomes at last Helen, or Ninon: any lovely and generous 
woman 
at her best and her most beautiful, being god, made manifest,
any clear and fearless man being god, very god.

There is no god
apart from poppies and flying fish,
men singing songs, and women brushing their hair in the sun.
The lovely things are god that has come to pass, like Jesus came.
The rest, the undiscoverable, is the demi-urge.  

NOTES

“D. H. Lawrence Complete Poems (ed. V. de S. Pinto) Penguin Books 1977.

Definitions:

Demiurge(Gk. craftsman). The intermediary that makes the physical world in the cosmology of Plato’s Timaeus.

neoplatonism…..Plotinus concived of the universe as an emanation or effulgence of the One, the omnipresent, transcendental Good derived from Plato’s Parmenides. The One gives rise to the realm of nous (ideas, intelligence), and that in turn to soul, or souls, some of which sink into bodies(others remain celestial)….

From Blackburn, Simon Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy O.U.P 1996.

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