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A new look, and Ms. Doolittle

The Poets' Corner Home Page (http://theotherpages.org/poems/) has had a major make-over. This appearance is consistent with the new format being used in the Author's Index, and in all new additions. I've added two more portraits, those of Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of my favorite poets, on of Hila Doolittle, who signed her work simply as 'H.D.'. I've also added eight new works to her index entry, all from "Sea Garden".

H.D. was the first 'imagist' poet, and published many books of poetry, novels, and psychology. She led a complicated life, with personal and professional relationships with many notable figures of her day, both men and women, notably including D.H. Lawrence and Ezra Pound(who she met in college, was once engaged to, and who gave her the title 'Imagiste'), Sigmund Freud, and others. Born in the steel town of Bethlehem Pennsylvania, She moved to London and became a British Citizen. She spent her later life in Switzerland. I wonder if, in travelling the roads up and down the hills and mountains around Zurich, if she ever thought back to the wave motion she described so well in her early poem The Helmsman.

The Helmsman

O BE swift--
we have always known you wanted us.

We fled inland with our flocks.
we pastured them in hollows,
cut off from the wind
and the salt track of the marsh.

We worshipped inland--
we stepped past wood-flowers,
we forgot your tang,
we brushed wood-grass.

We wandered from pine-hills
through oak and scrub-oak tangles,
we broke hyssop and bramble.
we caught flower and new bramble-fruit
in our hair: we laughed
as each branch whipped back,
we tore our feet in half-buried rocks
and knotted roots and acorn-cups.

We forgot--we worshipped,
we parted green from green.
we sought further thickets,
we dipped our ankles
through leaf-mould and earth.
and wood and wood-bank enchanted us--

and the feel of the clefts in the bark,
and the slope between tree and tree--
and a slender path strung field to field
and wood to wood
and hill to hill
and the forest after it.

We forgot--for a moment
tree-resin, tree-bark,
sweat of a torn branch
were sweet to taste.
We were enchanted with the fields,
the tufts of coarse grass
in the shorter grass--
we loved all this.

But now, our boat climbs--hesitates--drops--
climbs--hesitates--crawls back--
climbs--hesitates--
O be swift--
we have always known you wanted us.

H.D.


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