Sagar states in the introduction of this selection of D.H. Lawrence's poetry, "We have come to think of his poetry as something of a by-product of, or relaxation from, other more strenuous and important work". There is no doubt it was to an extent, however, what is clear is that he took it just as seriously as his other artistic pursuits. Casual readers of Lawrence may be surprised to learn that he wrote around 1000 poems in his 45-years. His poetry runs in near-parallel themes to his novels - for example, "Sons and Lovers" character Miriam was inspired by the muse of "Love Poems", Lawrence's' then sweetheart Jessie Chambers. "Sons and Lovers" focused upon the cruelty of love - platonic, romantic, and parental. Lawrence's poems from his "Love Poems" collection, "Cruelty and Love" and "Snap-Dragon" capture the same theme, albeit far more personally.
In this collection we see Lawrence's poetic skills evolve - from young rebel to world-weary mystic. It's his ability to capture emotion so clearly and concisely which is Lawrence's greatest skill. What also shines through in his poetry is a sense of playfulness - take "The Mosquito" as a case example:
"It is your trump,
It is your hateful little trump,
You pointed fiend,
Which shakes my sudden blood to hatred of you:
It is your small, high, hateful bugle in my ear."
The poem is altogether hilarious, depicting Lawrence as a hunter of the tiny yet vicious bug, who evades his every attempt to squash it until he finally, after much effort, succeeds. Much more than this, however, it demonstrates Lawrence's uncanny ability to capture the essence of nature and its creatures, best evidenced in "Snake".
Lawrence's poems are all full of energy and spirit, technically adept, and yet not limited by form. Admittedly some of his work is too personal, leaving the reader alienated, but his successful poetry (mostly presented in this collection) transcends time and culture.