September 28, 2013
In a Boat

See the stars, love, 

In the water much clearer and brighter 

Than those above us, and whiter, 

Like nenuphars. 


Star-shadows shine, love, 

How many stars in your bowl? 

How many shadows in your soul, 

Only mine, love, mine? 


When I move the oars, love, 

See how the stars are tossed, 

Distorted, the brightest lost. 

--So that bright one of yours, love. 


The poor waters spill 

The stars, waters broken, forsaken. 

--The heavens are not shaken, you say, love, 

Its stars stand still. 


There, did you see 

That spark fly up at us; even 

Stars are not safe in heaven. 

--What of yours, then, love, yours? 


What then, love, if soon 

Your light be tossed over a wave? 

Will you count the darkness a grave, 

And swoon, love, swoon? 




Today's poem is in the public domain. 

About This Poem
Lawrence was a rebellious and profoundly polemical writer with radical views, who regarded sex, the primitive subconscious, and nature as cures to what he considered the evils of modern industrialized society. Tremendously prolific, his work was often uneven in quality, and he was a continual source of controversy.

Poetry by Lawrence

(Penguin Classics, 2009)


Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-A-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on 
weekdays and classic poems on weekends. Browse the Poem-A-Day Archive.  

David Herbert Lawrence, novelist, short-story writer, poet and essayist, was born in England in 1885. Though better known as a novelist, Lawrence's first published works were poems, and his poetry, especially his evocations of the natural world, have since had a significant influence on many poets on both sides of the Atlantic.

Related Poems
by Christina Rossetti
by Robert Desnos
by Giles Fletcher

Thanks for being a part of the Academy of American Poets community. To learn about other programs, including National Poetry Month, Poem in Your Pocket Day, the annual Poets Forum, and more, visit