Is there such a thing as poetry of the penis? Probably not (as a self-contained genre at any rate), but there are undoubtedly poems about the penis. Perhaps an anthology of kinds could be started on this site! My first contribution is a poem by D H Lawrence. An unsurprising choice, of course; Lawrence's work, and not merely his more notorious work such as Lady Chatterly's Lover, for instance, amounts in many places to a resevoir of references and allusions to, and symbolism about, the male membrum virilus. In the early poem Virgin Youth Lawrence offers, in what must have been seen by most of his conventional contemporaries as a shockingly explicit, paean to his "lustrous" and "beautiful" erection. Notwithstanding its close proximity to a kind of masterbatory narcisism, which it acknowledges but does not sucumb to, the poemanticipates, in an authentic but rather embarrisingly jejune way, his mature preoccupations with the fundamental primal realities from which modern mankind, with its rejection of its own "blood conscience", has become disastrously estranged. The neglect by modern civilisation of "the man in his wholeness, wholly attending" is, in Lawrence's mind, the constant reproach to that civilisation's desire for uninhibited "progress". For all its amateurishness, there is a sensuous immediacy, a lightness of touch and absence of programmatic didacticism in Virgin Youth which makes it refreshing when considered beside some of Lawrences later work, in which the bitter conviction of modernity's irreversible decline is expressed with something approaching a categorical complaceny. At any rate, I offer the poem below for your reflection and comment and in the hope of illiciting other contributions. Now and again The life that looks through my eyes And quivers in words through my mouth, And behaves like the rest of men, Slips away, so I grasp in surprise. And then My unknown breasts begin To wake, and down the thin Ripples below the breats an urgent Rhythm starts, and my silent and slumberous belly In one moment rouses insurgent. My soft, slumbering belly, Quivering awake with one impulse and one will, Then willy nilly, A lower me gets up and greets me; Homunculus stirs from his roots, and strives until, Risen up, he beats me. He stands, and I tremble before hiim. - Who then art thou? - He is wordless, but sultry and vast, And I can't deplore him. - Who art thou? What hast Thou to do with me, thou lustrouos one, iconoclast? - How beautiful he is! without sound, Without eyes, without hands; Yet, flame of the living ground He stands, the column of fire by night. And he knows from the depths; he quite Alone understands. Quite alone, he alone Understands and knows. Lustrously sure, unkonwn Out of nowhere he rose. I tremble in his shadow, as he burns For the dark goal. He stands like a lighthouse, night churns Round his base, his dark light rolls Into darkness, and darkly returns. Is he calling, the lone one? Is his deep Silence full of summons? Is he moving invisibly? Does his steep Curve sweep towards a woman's? Traveller, column of fire, It is vain. The glow of thy full desire Becomes pain. Dark, ruddy piller, forgive me! I Am helplessly bound To the rock of virginity. Thy Strange voice has no sound. We cry in the wilderness. Forgive me, I Would gladly lie In the womanly valley, and ply Thy twofold dance. Thou dark one, thou proud one, curved beauty! I Would worship thee, letting my buttocks prance. But the hosts of men with one voice deny Me the chance. They have taken the gates from the hinges And built up the way. I salute thee But to deflower thee. Thy tower impinges On nothingess. Pardon me!