A Poem by H.D. on Her Birthday

September 10, 1886Hilda Dolittle born, pen name H.D., American poet and novelist, known for avant-garde poetry, literary editor of  The Egoist journal during WWI, frequently used Greek mythology and insights from psychoanalysis in her work; H.D.’s work was on its way to being forgotten when the Second Wave of Feminism launched Women’s Studies and Arts and History programs, and new-made women scholars re-discovered her.

To read H.D.’s poem “The Walls DoNot Fall, XIV” click:


 


from The Walls Do Not Fall

by H.D.

XIV.

Yet we, the latter-day twice-born,
have our bad moments when

dragging the forlorn
husk of  self after us,

we are forced to confess to
malaise and embarrassment;

we pull at this dead shell,
struggle but we must wait

til the new Sun dries off
the old-body humours;

awkwardly, we drag this stale
old will, old volition, old habit

about with us;
we are these people

wistful, ironical, wilful
who have no part in

new-world reconstruction,
in the confederacy of labour,

the practical issues of art
and the cataloguing of utilities:

O, do not look up
into the air,

you who are occupied
in the bewildering

sand-heap maze
of present-day endeavour;

you will be, not so much frightened
as paralysed with inaction.

and anyhow,
we have not crawled so very far

up our individual grass-blade
toward our individual star.


“The Walls Do Not Fall, XIV” from Collected Poems 1912-1944, © 1982 by the Estate of Hilda Dolittle – New Directions, Eighth Printing

Visual: Circe Invidiosa (detail) by John Waterhouse (1892)

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Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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