Sport 18: Autumn 1997
Peter Bland — At Zennor
Eighty years since Lawrence headed west
with his ‘Hun wife’ to this cottage-cave.
In London, zeppelins ‘like new moons’let go
their death-seeds, turning stones to blood.
‘We must build a place apart, ’he wrote.
Remembering, perhaps, the village where he'd lived
safe in his mother's arms, the surrounding farms
opening their doors to let him in. Now,
driving past Frieda's ‘house of hate’
I watch waves beating on the same cold rocks
where she danced like Isadora, trailing scarves
the locals swore were signalling German subs.
‘It's heaven here,’Lawrence lied to Murry.
‘I've called it Katherine's tower.You must come.’
Dressed in a pinny Lawrence waited
to kiss his handsome ‘soul-mate’on the lips!
A mad house…with Frieda nagging him
‘to earn something’; cursing
his ‘useless influential friends’;
lecturing him on ‘the mean-minded English’;
begging him to sell recipes for bread.
Where was the sexual visionary she'd married?
the greatest literary genius of his age!
Doing embroidery by the fireside!
Copying coy pictures from women's magazines!
And then that sudden ‘manly passion’
for some local ploughboy who worked these hills.
God knows what happened there. And all this
with storms and soldiers roaring round the house
and Katherine seeing things, crying out ‘My dead brother!’
page 131 when some major from Bodmin thundered in
calling them traitors, telling K to get dressed
as she sat on the stairs like Ophelia, clutching
violets and smoking French cigarettes.
So long ago! So many ghosts! In Padstow
they're selling souvenirs of this drab spot:
blackened bricks (guaranteed) ‘from the original hearth’
and art-nouveau bits of a broken lamp
from happier days at the Café Royal.