By: D.H. Lawrence
November 23, 2023

A (pro- or anti-) science-, mathematics-, technology-, space-, apocalypse-, dehumanization-, disenchantment-, and/or future-oriented poem published during sf’s emergent Radium Age (c. 1900–1935). Research and selection by Joshua Glenn.

Ivan Kudriashev’s Orbital trajectory of a planet hurling toward the sun (1926)

Space, of course, is alive
that’s why it moves about;
and that’s what makes it eternally spacious
     and unstuffy.

And somewhere it has a wild heart
that sends pulses even through me;
and I call it the sun;
and I feel aristocratic, noble, when I feel I
     a pulse go through me
from the wild heart of space, that I call the
     sun of suns.

— From Pansies (1929)

“Space,” here, refers not to the region beyond the earth’s atmosphere, but to the three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction. Pansies is a book whose poems (if that’s what they are) build upon one another; so it’s important to note that “Space” is immediately preceded by “Relativity” — about Einsteinian space-time theory (which makes the narrator feel as though space shifted about like a swan that can’t settle).


RADIUM AGE PROTO-SF POETRY: Stephen Spender’s THE PYLONS | George Sterling’s THE TESTIMONY OF THE SUNS | Archibald MacLeish’s EINSTEIN | Thomas Thornely’s THE ATOM | C.S. Lewis’s DYMER | Stephen Vincent Benét’s METROPOLITAN NIGHTMARE | Robert Frost’s FIRE AND ICE | Aldous Huxley’s FIFTH PHILOSOPHER’S SONG | Sara Teasdale’s “THERE WILL COME SOFT RAINS” | Edith Södergran’s ON FOOT I HAD TO… | Robert Graves’s WELSH INCIDENT | Nancy Cunard’s ZEPPELINS | D.H. Lawrence’s WELLSIAN FUTURES | & many more.


Poetry, Radium Age SF