For the Heroes Dipped in Scarlet

From Last Poems by D.H. Lawrence

Before Plato told the great lie of ideals
men slimly went like fishes, and didn’t care.

They had long hair, like Samson,
and clean as arrows they sped at the mark
when the bow-cord twanged.

They knew it was no use knowing
their own nothingness:
for they were not nothing.

So now they come back! Hark!
Hark! the low and shattering laughter of bearded men
with the slim waists of warriors, and the long feet
of moonlit dancers.

Oh, and their faces scarlet, like the dolphin’s blood!
Lo! the loveliest is red all over, rippling vermilion
as he ripples upwards!
laughing in his black beard!

They are dancing! they return, as they went, dancing!
For the thing that is done without the glowing as of god, vermilion,
were best not done at all.
How glistening red they are!

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