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Best Famous Hilda Doolittle Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Hilda Doolittle poems. This is a select list of the best famous Hilda Doolittle poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Hilda Doolittle poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Hilda Doolittle poems.

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Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

Cities

 Can we believe -- by an effort 
comfort our hearts: 
it is not waste all this, 
not placed here in disgust, 
street after street, 
each patterned alike, 
no grace to lighten 
a single house of the hundred 
crowded into one garden-space.
Crowded -- can we believe, not in utter disgust, in ironical play -- but the maker of cities grew faint with the beauty of temple and space before temple, arch upon perfect arch, of pillars and corridors that led out to strange court-yards and porches where sun-light stamped hyacinth-shadows black on the pavement.
That the maker of cities grew faint with the splendour of palaces, paused while the incense-flowers from the incense-trees dropped on the marble-walk, thought anew, fashioned this -- street after street alike.
For alas, he had crowded the city so full that men could not grasp beauty, beauty was over them, through them, about them, no crevice unpacked with the honey, rare, measureless.
So he built a new city, ah can we believe, not ironically but for new splendour constructed new people to lift through slow growth to a beauty unrivalled yet -- and created new cells, hideous first, hideous now -- spread larve across them, not honey but seething life.
And in these dark cells, packed street after street, souls live, hideous yet -- O disfigured, defaced, with no trace of the beauty men once held so light.
Can we think a few old cells were left -- we are left -- grains of honey, old dust of stray pollen dull on our torn wings, we are left to recall the old streets? Is our task the less sweet that the larve still sleep in their cells? Or crawl out to attack our frail strength: You are useless.
We live.
We await great events.
We are spread through this earth.
We protect our strong race.
You are useless.
Your cell takes the place of our young future strength.
Though they sleep or wake to torment and wish to displace our old cells -- thin rare gold -- that their larve grow fat -- is our task the less sweet? Though we wander about, find no honey of flowers in this waste, is our task the less sweet -- who recall the old splendour, await the new beauty of cities? The city is peopled with spirits, not ghosts, O my love: Though they crowded between and usurped the kiss of my mouth their breath was your gift, their beauty, your life.


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

Evadne

 I first tasted under Apollo's lips,
love and love sweetness,
I, Evadne;
my hair is made of crisp violets
or hyacinth which the wind combs back
across some rock shelf;
I, Evadne,
was made of the god of light.
His hair was crisp to my mouth, as the flower of the crocus, across my cheek, cool as the silver-cress on Erotos bank; between my chin and throat, his mouth slipped over and over.
Still between my arm and shoulder, I feel the brush of his hair, and my hands keep the gold they took, as they wandered over and over, that great arm-full of yellow flowers.


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

From Citron-Bower

 From citron-bower be her bed, 
cut from branch of tree a-flower, 
fashioned for her maidenhead.
From Lydian apples, sweet of hue, cut the width of board and lathe, carve the feet from myrtle-wood.
Let the palings of her bed be quince and box-wood overlaid with the scented bark of yew.
That all the wood in blossoming, may calm her heart and cool her blood, for losing of her maidenhood.


More great poems below...

Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

Acon

 Bear me to Dictaeus,
and to the steep slopes;
to the river Erymanthus.
I choose spray of dittany, cyperum, frail of flower, buds of myrrh, all-healing herbs, close pressed in calathes.
For she lies panting, drawing sharp breath, broken with harsh sobs.
she, Hyella, whom no god pities.


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

Cassandra

 O Hymen king.
Hymen, O Hymen king, what bitter thing is this? what shaft, tearing my heart? what scar, what light, what fire searing my eye-balls and my eyes with flame? nameless, O spoken name, king, lord, speak blameless Hymen.
Why do you blind my eyes? why do you dart and pulse till all the dark is home, then find my soul and ruthless draw it back? scaling the scaleless, opening the dark? speak, nameless, power and might; when will you leave me quite? when will you break my wings or leave them utterly free to scale heaven endlessly? A bitter, broken thing, my heart, O Hymen lord, yet neither drought nor sword baffles men quite, why must they feign to fear my virgin glance? feigned utterly or real why do they shrink? my trance frightens them, breaks the dance, empties the market-place; if I but pass they fall back, frantically; must always people mock? unless they shrink and reel as in the temple at your uttered will.
O Hymen king, lord, greatest, power, might, look for my face is dark, burnt with your light, your fire, O Hymen lord; is there none left can equal me in ecstasy, desire? is there none left can bear with me the kiss of your white fire? is there not one, Phrygian or frenzied Greek, poet, song-swept, or bard, one meet to take from me this bitter power of song, one fit to speak, Hymen, your praises, lord? May I not wed as you have wed? may it not break, beauty, from out my hands, my head, my feet? may Love not lie beside me till his heat burn me to ash? may he not comfort me, then, spent of all that fire and heat, still, ashen-white and cool as the wet laurels, white, before your feet step on the mountain-slope, before your fiery hand lift up the mantle covering flower and land, as a man lifts, O Hymen, from his bride, (cowering with woman eyes,) the veil? O Hymen lord, be kind.


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

Pear Tree

 Silver dust 
lifted from the earth, 
higher than my arms reach, 
you have mounted.
O silver, higher than my arms reach you front us with great mass; no flower ever opened so staunch a white leaf, no flower ever parted silver from such rare silver; O white pear, your flower-tufts, thick on the branch, bring summer and ripe fruits in their purple hearts.


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

Sea Poppies

 Amber husk 
fluted with gold, 
fruit on the sand 
marked with a rich grain, 

treasure 
spilled near the shrub-pines 
to bleach on the boulders: 

your stalk has caught root 
among wet pebbles 
and drift flung by the sea 
and grated shells 
and split conch-shells.
Beautiful, wide-spread, fire upon leaf, what meadow yields so fragrant a leaf as your bright leaf?


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

Sea Rose

 Rose, harsh rose, 
marred and with stint of petals, 
meagre flower, thin, 
sparse of leaf, 

more precious 
than a wet rose 
single on a stem -- 
you are caught in the drift.
Stunted, with small leaf, you are flung on the sand, you are lifted in the crisp sand that drives in the wind.
Can the spice-rose drip such acrid fragrance hardened in a leaf?


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

At Ithaca

 Over and back, 
the long waves crawl 
and track the sand with foam; 
night darkens, and the sea 
takes on that desperate tone 
of dark that wives put on 
when all their love is done.
Over and back, the tangled thread falls slack, over and up and on; over and all is sewn; now while I bind the end, I wish some fiery friend would sweep impetuously these fingers from the loom.
My weary thoughts play traitor to my soul, just as the toil is over; swift while the woof is whole, turn now, my spirit, swift, and tear the pattern there, the flowers so deftly wrought, the borders of sea blue, the sea-blue coast of home.
The web was over-fair, that web of pictures there, enchantments that I thought he had, that I had lost; weaving his happiness within the stitching frame, weaving his fire and frame, I thought my work was done, I prayed that only one of those that I had spurned might stoop and conquer this long waiting with a kiss.
But each time that I see my work so beautifully inwoven and would keep the picture and the whole, Athene steels my soul.
Slanting across my brain, I see as shafts of rain his chariot and his shafts, I see the arrows fall, I see the lord who moves like Hector lord of love, I see him matched with fair bright rivals, and I see those lesser rivals flee.


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

The Mysteries Remain

 The mysteries remain,
I keep the same
cycle of seed-time
and of sun and rain;
Demeter in the grass,
I multiply,
renew and bless
Bacchus in the vine;
I hold the law,
I keep the mysteries true,
the first of these
to name the living, dead;
I am the wine and bread.
I keep the law, I hold the mysteries true, I am the vine, the branches, you and you.


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

The Pool

 Are you alive? 
I touch you.
You quiver like a sea-fish.
I cover you with my net.
What are you - banded one?


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

Wash of Cold River

 Wash of cold river 
in a glacial land, 
Ionian water, 
chill, snow-ribbed sand, 
drift of rare flowers, 
clear, with delicate shell- 
like leaf enclosing 
frozen lily-leaf, 
camellia texture, 
colder than a rose; 

wind-flower 
that keeps the breath 
of the north-wind -- 
these and none other; 

intimate thoughts and kind 
reach out to share 
the treasure of my mind, 
intimate hands and dear 
drawn garden-ward and sea-ward 
all the sheer rapture 
that I would take 
to mould a clear 
and frigid statue; 

rare, of pure texture, 
beautiful space and line, 
marble to grace 
your inaccessible shrine.


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

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, precipitate.
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.


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

Stars Wheel in Purple

 Stars wheel in purple, yours is not so rare
as Hesperus, nor yet so great a star
as bright Aldeboran or Sirius,
nor yet the stained and brilliant one of War;

stars turn in purple, glorious to the sight;
yours is not gracious as the Pleiads are
nor as Orion's sapphires, luminous;

yet disenchanted, cold, imperious face,
when all the others blighted, reel and fall,
your star, steel-set, keeps lone and frigid tryst
to freighted ships, baffled in wind and blast.


Written by Hilda Doolittle | |

Heat

 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.