St. Luke

by D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence

A WALL, a bastion,
A living forehead with its slow whorl of hair
And a bull's large, sombre, glancing eye
And glistening, adhesive muzzle
With cavernous nostrils where the winds run hot
Snorting defiance
Or greedily snuffling behind the cows.
The golden horns of power,
Power to kill, power to create
Such as Moses had, and God,
Shall great wings flame from his shoulder-sockets
It would be no wonder.
Knowing the thunder of his heart
The massive thunder of his dew-lapped chest
Deep and reverberating,
It would be no wonder if great wings, like flame, fanned
out from the furnace-cracks of his shoulder-sockets.
Thud! Thud! Thud!
And the roar of black bull's blood in the mighty passages of
his chest.
Ah, the dewlap swings pendulous with excess.
The great, roaring weight above
Like a furnace dripping a molten drip.
The urge, the massive, burning ache
Of the bull's breast.
The open furnace-doors of his nostrils.
For what does he ache, and groan?
In his breast a wall?
Nay, once it was also a fortress wall, and the weight of a
vast battery.
But now it is a burning hearthstone only,
Massive old altar of his own burnt offering.
It was always an altar of burnt offering
His own black blood poured out like a sheet of flame over
his fecundating herd
As he gave himself forth.
But also it was a fiery fortress frowning shaggily on the world
And announcing battle ready.
Since the Lamb bewitched him with that red-struck flag
His fortress is dismantled
His fires of wrath are banked down
His horns turn away from the enemy.
He serves the Son of Man.
And hear him bellow, after many years, the bull that serves
the Son of Man.
Moaning, booing, roaring hollow
Constrained to pour forth all his fire down the narrow sluice
of procreation
Through such narrow loins, too narrow.
Is he not over-charged by the dammed-up pressure of his
own massive black blood
Luke, the Bull, the father of substance, the Providence Bull,
after two thousand years?
Is he not over-full of offering, a vast, vast offer of himself
Which must be poured through so small a vent?
Too small a vent.
Let him remember his horns, then.
Seal up his forehead once more to a bastion,
Let it know nothing.
Let him charge like a mighty catapult on the red-cross flag,
let him roar out challenge on the world
And throwing himself upon it, throw off the madness of his
Let it be war.
And so it is war.
The bull of the proletariat has got his head down.

Last updated January 14, 2019