St. Mark

by D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence

THERE was a lion in Judah
Which whelped, and was Mark.
But winged.
A lion with wings.
At least at Venice.
Even as late as Daniele Manin.
Why should he have wings?
Is he to be a bird also?
Or a spirit?
Or a winged thought?
Or a soaring consciousness?
Evidently he is all that
The lion of the spirit.
Ah, Lamb of God
Would a wingless lion lie down before Thee, as this
winged lion lies?
The lion of the spirit.
Once he lay in the mouth of a cave
And sunned his whiskers,
And lashed his tail slowly, slowly
Thinking of voluptuousness
Even of blood.
But later, in the sun of the afternoon
Having tasted all there was to taste, and having slept his fill
He fell to frowning, as he lay with his head on his paws
And the sun coming in through the narrowest fibril of a
slit in his eyes.
So, nine-tenths asleep, motionless, bored, and statically
He saw in a shaft of light a lamb on a pinnacle, balancing a
flag on its paw.
And he was thoroughly startled.
Going out to investigate
He found the lamb beyond him, on the inaccessible pinnacle
of light.
So he put his paw to his nose, and pondered.
"Guard my sheep," came the silvery voice from the
"And I will give thee the wings of the morning."
So the lion of the senses thought it was worth it.
Hence he became a curly sheep-dog with dangerous pro-
As Carpaccio will tell you:
Ramping round, guarding the flock of mankind,
Sharpening his teeth on the wolves,
Ramping up through the air like a kestrel
And lashing his tail above the world
And enjoying the sensation of heaven and righteousness and
voluptuous wrath.
There is a new sweetness in his voluptuously licking his paw
Now that it is a weapon of heaven.
There is a new ecstasy in his roar of desirous love
Now that it sounds self-conscious through the unlimited sky.
He is well aware of himself
And he cherishes voluptuous delights, and thinks about
And ceases to be a blood-thirsty king of beasts
And becomes the faithful sheep-dog of the Shepherd, think-
ing of his voluptuous pleasures of chasing the sheep to
the fold
And increasing the flock, and perhaps giving a real nip here
and there, a real pinch, but always well meant.
And somewhere there is a lioness
The she-mate.
Whelps play between the paws of the lion
The she-mate purrs
Their castle is impregnable, their cave,
The sun comes in their lair, they are well-off
A well-to-do family.
Then the proud lion stalks abroad, alone
And roars to announce himself to the wolves
And also to encourage the red-cross Lamb
And also to ensure a goodly increase in the world.
Look at him, with his paw on the world
At Venice and elsewhere.
Going blind at last.

Last updated January 14, 2019