Fidelity – D. H. Lawrence

Fidelity

Man and woman are like the earth, that brings forth flowers
in summer, and love, but underneath is rock.

Older than flowers, older than ferns, older than foraminiferae,
older than plasm altogether is the soul underneath.

And when, throughout all the wild chaos of love
slowly a gem forms, in the ancient, once-more-molten rocks
of two human hearts, two ancient rocks,
a man’s heart and a woman’s,
that is the crystal of peace, the slow hard jewel of trust,
the sapphire of fidelity.
The gem of mutual peace emerging from the wild chaos of love.

D.H. Lawrence (1885 – 1930)

foraminiferae = order of protozoans usually marine organism with perforated shells
plasm = colourless coagulation part of blood in which the corpuscles float

This prose style poem is often used as a marriage piece. It highlights the centuries old soul-bond of man and woman. And the foundation of a relationship is on-going trust and fidelity. This is likened to the formation of a gem in a rock to form the conceit. And the words suggest that it is not easy to maintain trust and fidelity within the wild chaos of love. This phrase is repeated emphasising the nature of love and the demands experienced in developing an on-going relationship.

Of course gems and jewels are usually part of the marriage ceremony so these metaphoric words go hand in hand in stressing fidelity.

The problem is that word foraminiferae – what exactly does it mean and how to you pronounce it if you have to read the poem at a wedding! It is a word trap that takes the mind away from focusing on a smooth reading, never the less the emphasis on fidelity is crystal clear!

D. H. Lawrence on Wikipedia

Your word in my ear ...

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