Valentine’s Day 2012 found florist shops enable to take any more orders and restaurants unable to take any more reservations. Hotels sold out of Lover’s get away packages. And stores were packed with customers buying last minute presents for their sweeties. What happened to the recession on Valentine’s Day? Love suffers and survives the worst of times and the best of times. Remember, “For richer and for poorer in sickness and in health.” True love is recession proof. Just take a look at Sting and his beautiful wife. Married for more years than most Hollywood couples have careers, the Sting couple examplfies a marriage the has survived the test of time and the fickle nature of fame.
Aproaching 30 years of marriage, the present writer heard a message this week that asked the question is marriage still important. The answer has been pondered by minds great and small. D.H. Lawrence, who knew something about love, gives a great response. I read Lady Chatterly’s Lover when I was in Europe, recovering from an injury that I received while serving as a Professor of English in Africa. The book seemed mild by comparison with some of the modern novels I read. Thus, on this Valentine’s Day I selected to write about Lawrence because he knew the secret of love. “Never neglect your significant other.”
D.H Lawrence was a brilliant writer. He was basically an honest man who happened to be 30 years before his time. Gay Talese, one of my favorite writers in college, wrote about love in America with much greater clarity than Lawrence about love in England. The book which changed my perception of Lawrence, undoubtedly , was The Letters of D.H. Lawrence by his former publisher. These letters told me more about D.H. Lawrence that any of the 26 books that I studied. These letters convey the inner essence of Lawrence as not found in the attempts of biographers.
D.H. Lawrence was very much a part of the stiff upper lip repressive society that produced Thomas Hardy. Thus his poetry was heavily influenced by the same social restrictions that so dominated the work of so many writers of his era. The factor which made Lawrence different was primarily because he refused to submit to the censor of his peers. His work is defiant. D. H. Lawrence knew what society did to those men who refused to abide by the social norms. However, Lawrence was willing to turn a deaf ear to the social sensitvity of his readers in order to make a point. His point being, “I am what I am and that is all that I am.”
Unlike Thomas Hardy. D. H. Lawrence was not ashamed of his lower class background. Where Hardy seemed to make fun of his equals and to try to make excuses for their behavior, Lawrence seemed to flaunt his class status and he even made a point of not wanting to belong to the middle class:
The Saddest Day
“We climbed the steep ascent to heaven
Through peril, toil and pain.
O God to us may strength be given
To scramble back again.”
O I was born low and inferior
but shining up beyond
I saw the whole superior
world shine like the promised land.
So up I started climbing
to join the folks on high,
but when at last I got there
I had to sit down and cry.
For it wasn’t a bit superior,
it was only affected and mean;
away the house had a fine interior
the people were never in.
I mean, they were never entirely
there when you talked to them;
away in some private cupboard
some small voice went:
AHEM! they went. This fellow is a little too open for me;
with such people one has to be careful!
Happy Valentine’s Day America!