‘New Heaven and Earth’ by D. H. Lawrence
New Heaven and Earth
And so I cross into another world shyly and in homage linger for an invitation from this unknown that I would trespass on.
I am very glad, and all alone in the world, all alone, and very glad, in a new world where I am disembarked at last.
I could cry with joy, because I am in the new world, just ventured in. I could cry with joy, and quite freely, there is nobody to know.
And whosoever the unknown people of this un- known world may be they will never understand my weeping for joy to be adventuring among them because it will still be a gesture of the old world I am making which they will not understand, because it is quite, quite foreign to them.
I was so weary of the world I was so sick of it everything was tainted with myself, skies, trees, flowers, birds, water, people, houses, streets, vehicles, machines, nations, armies, war, peace-talking, work, recreation, governing, anarchy, it was all tainted with myself, I knew it all to start with because it was all myself.
When I gathered flowers, I knew it was myself plucking my own flowering. When I went in a train, I knew it was myself travelling by my own invention. When I heard the cannon of the war, I listened with my own ears to my own destruction. When I saw the torn dead, I knew it was my own torn dead body. It was all me, I had done it all in my own flesh.
I shall never forget the maniacal horror of it all in the end when everything was me, I knew it all already, I anticipated it all in my soul because I was the author and the result I was the God and the creation at once; creator, I looked at my creation; created, I looked at myself, the creator: it was a maniacal horror in the end.
I was a lover, I kissed the woman I loved, and God of horror, I was kissing also myself. I was a father and a begetter of children, and oh, oh horror, I was begetting and conceiving in my own body.
At last came death, sufficiency of death, and that at last relieved me, I died. I buried my beloved; it was good, I buried myself and was gone. War came, and every hand raised to murder; very good, very good, every hand raised to murder! Very good, very good, I am a murderer! It is good, I can murder and murder, and see them fall the mutilated, horror-struck youths, a multitude one on another, and then in clusters together smashed, all oozing with blood, and burned in heaps going up in a foetid smoke to get rid of them the murdered bodies of youths and men in heaps and heaps and heaps and horrible reeking heaps till it is almost enough, till I am reduced perhaps; thousands and thousands of gaping, hideous foul dead that are youths and men and me being burned with oil, and consumed in corrupt thick smoke, that rolls and taints and blackens the sky, till at last it is dark, dark as night, or death, or hell and I am dead, and trodden to nought in the smoke-sodden tomb; dead and trodden to nought in the sour black earth of the tomb; dead and trodden to nought, trodden to nought.
God, but it is good to have died and been trodden out trodden to nought in sour, dead earth quite to nought absolutely to nothing nothing nothing nothing.
For when it is quite, quite nothing, then it is everything. When I am trodden quite out, quite, quite out every vestige gone, then I am here risen, and setting my foot on another world risen, accomplishing a resurrection risen, not born again, but risen, body the same as before, new beyond knowledge of newness, alive beyond life proud beyond inkling or furthest conception of pride living where life was never yet dreamed of, nor hinted at here, in the other world, still terrestrial myself, the same as before, yet unaccountably new.
I, in the sour black tomb, trodden to absolute death I put out my hand in the night, one night, and my hand touched that which was verily not me verily it was not me. Where I had been was a sudden blaze a sudden flaring blaze! So I put my hand out further, a little further and I felt that which was not I, it verily was not I it was the unknown.
Ha, I was a blaze leaping up! I was a tiger bursting into sunlight. I was greedy, I was mad for the unknown. I, new-risen, resurrected, starved from the tomb starved from a life of devouring always myself now here was I, new-awakened, with my hand stretching out and touching the unknown, the real unknown, the unknown unknown.
My God, but I can only say I touch, I feel the unknown! I am the first comer! Cortes, Pisarro, Columbus, Cabot, they are nothing, nothing! I am the first comer! I am the discoverer! I have found the other world!
The unknown, the unknown! I am thrown upon the shore. I am covering myself with the sand. I am filling my mouth with the earth. I am burrowing my body into the soil. The unknown, the new world!
It was the flank of my wife I touched with my hand, I clutched with my hand rising, new-awakened from the tomb! It was the flank of my wife whom I married years ago at whose side I have lain for over a thousand nights and all that previous while, she was I, she was I; I touched her, it was I who touched and I who was touched.
Yet rising from the tomb, from the black oblivion stretching out my hand, my hand flung like a drowned man’s hand on a rock, I touched her flank and knew I was carried by the current in death over to the new world, and was climbing out on the shore, risen, not to the old world, the old, changeless I, the old life, wakened not to the old knowledge but to a new earth, a new I, a new knowledge, a new world of time.
Ah no, I cannot tell you what it is, the new world I cannot tell you the mad, astounded rapture of its discovery. I shall be mad with delight before I have done, and whosoever comes after will find me in the new world a madman in rapture.
Green streams that flow from the innermost continent of the new world, what are they? Green and illumined and travelling for ever dissolved with the mystery of the innermost heart of the continent mystery beyond knowledge or endurance, so sumptuous out of the well-heads of the new world. – The other, she too has strange green eyes! White sands and fruits unknown and perfumes that never can blow across the dark seas to our usual world! And land that beats with a pulse! And valleys that draw close in love! And strange ways where I fall into oblivion of uttermost living! – Also she who is the other has strange-mounded breasts and strange sheer slopes, and white levels. Sightless and strong oblivion in utter life takes possession of me! The unknown, strong current of life supreme drowns me and sweeps me away and holds me down to the sources of mystery, in the depths, extinguishes there my risen resurrected life and kindles it further at the core of utter mystery.