Madeline's Reviews > Selected Poems

Selected Poems by H.D.
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's review
Feb 18, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: assigned-reading, poetry
Read in February, 2010

Very few reviews of Hilda Doolittle here on Goodreads. This makes me sad, because thanks to my poetry class I discovered two very important things about her: a) she exists, and b) When she's not being weird and confusing I really, really like her poetry.

This one's my favorite.

"Sheltered Garden

I have had enough.
I gasp for breath.

Every way ends, every road,
every foot-path leads at last
to the hill-crest --
then you retrace your steps,
or find the same slope on the other side,

I have had enough --
border-pinks, clove-pinks, wax-lilies,
herbs, sweet-cress.

O for some sharp swish of a branch --
there is no scent of resin
in this place,
no taste of bark, of coarse weeds,
aromatic, astringent --
only border on border of scented pinks.

Have you seen fruit under cover
that wanted light --
pears wadded in cloth,
protected from the frost,
melons, almost ripe,
smothered in straw?

Why not let the pears cling
to the empty branch?
All your coaxing will only make
a bitter fruit --
let them cling, ripen of themselves,
test their own worth,
nipped, shrivelled by the frost,
to fall at last but fair
with a russet coat

Or the melon --
let it bleach yellow
in the winter light,
even tart to the taste --
it is better to taste of frost --
the exquisite frost --
than of wadding and of dead grass.

For this beauty,
beauty without strength,
chokes out life.
I want wind to break,
scatter these pink-stalks,
snap off their spiced heads,
fling them about with dead leaves --
spread the paths with twigs,
limbs broken off,
trail great pine branches,
hurled from some far wood
right across the melon-patch,
break pear and quince --
leave half-trees, torn, twisted
but showing the fight was valiant.

O to blot out this garden
to forget, to find a new beauty
in some terrible
wind-tortured place."

Read for: Modern Poetryi
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by El (new)

El Hilda is my favorite. We inexplicably have two copies of this collection in the house, but for some reason I haven't rated/reviewed it. Harumph.

message 2: by B0nnie (new) - added it

B0nnie This is great Madeline. What violent and beautiful images,

For this beauty,
beauty without strength,
chokes out life.
I want wind to break,
scatter these pink-stalks,
snap off their spiced heads

I'll have to read more H.D.!

message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken Moten I had never heard of her, but after reading those verses I will have to check her out. I'm still a little poetry fatigued from The Divine Comedy but I will seek this one out.

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