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DOOLITTLE, Hilda


Garden

I

YOU are clear

O rose, cut in rock,

hard as the descent of hail.

I could scrape the colour

from the petals

like spilt dye from a rock.

If I could break you

I could break a tree.

If I could stir

I could break a tree—

I could break you.


II

O wind, rend open the heat,

cut apart the heat,

rend it to tatters.

Fruit cannot drop

through this thick air—

fruit cannot fall into heat

that presses up and blunts

the points of pears

and rounds the grapes.

Cut the heat—

plough through it,

turning it on either side

of your path.


Oread

Whirl up, sea—

whirl your pointed pines,

splash your great pines

on our rocks,

hurl your green over us,

cover us with your pools of fir.


Triplex

…..

Maid

of the luminous grey-eyes,

Mistress

of honey and marble implacable

white thighs

and Goddess,

chaste daughter of Zeus.
…..


Helen

All Greece hates

the still eyes in the white face,

the lustre as of olives

where she stands,

and the white hands.

All Greece reviles

the wan face when she smiles,

hating it deeper still

when it grows wan and white,

remembering past enchantments

and past ills.

Greece sees, unmoved,

God’s daughter, born of love,

the beauty of cool feet

and slenderest knees,

could love indeed the maid,

only if she were laid,

white ash amid funereal cypresses.