The Garden

The American poetess and novelist Hilda Doolittle used only her initials to write poetry. Her works resembles the work of another famous American poetess: Emily Dickinson. It’s time for The Garden written by “H.D.”

About the poet

Doolittle was born on September 10 1886 in Bethlehem (Pennsylvania, US). She would grow out to be a poet who only used her initials, H.D., when writing.

In 1911 Doolittle moved from the US to Great Brittan. She lived in London, where she published her work as a member of the Imagist movement. Imagism was a poetry movement in the early years of the twentieth century. Precision of imagery and clear, sharp language were the ingredients of this movement. Other famous poets that where part of this movement were Richard Aldington and Ezra Pound. The last one would be the motor for her writing career. This lead to the publication of her work in English Review and the Transatlantic Review.

In her personal life, things did not go as she hoped they would. During the First World War, her brother died and she broke off her marriage with Richard Aldington. This made her to write about these tragic events. She also struggled with her bisexuality. She went into therapy for this and was a patient of no other than Sigmund Freud. This also made her write poetry, that would later inspire the LGTB movement during the period 1970-1980.

After the Second World War, she moved to Switzerland. She suffered a severe mental breakdown and was admitted into a clinic. She stayed there for over a year. After being released, she again followed therapy in 1950. It was her psychoanalyst, Erich Heydt, who encouraged her to write. She wrote strong poems about violence and war from a feministic perspective. These poems were rewarded with the American Academy of Arts and Letters medal. Upon returning to Switzerland, she suffered a stroke. Doolittle died on September 27 1961, a few months after the stroke.

 

The garden

By H.D.

The 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.

 

 

 

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