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H. D. (Hilda Doolittle; 1886-1961)

Sea Rose


              1Rose, harsh rose,
              2marred and with stint of petals,
              3meagre flower, thin,
              4sparse of leaf,

              5more precious
              6than a wet rose
              7single on a stem --
              8you are caught in the drift.

              9Stunted, with small leaf,
            10you are flung on the sand,
            11you are lifted
            12in the crisp sand
            13that drives in the wind.

            14Can the spice-rose
            15drip such acrid fragrance
            16hardened in a leaf?

Notes

1] harsh rose: the sea-wormwood, Artemisia maritima, was known as "sea rose" in 1597 according to the Oxford English Dictionary (see under "rose"); also possibly the South Sea rose, of Jamaica, Nerium Oleander (see under "South Sea").

2] stint: restraint.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Collected Poems of H.D. (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1925): 3. York University Library Special Collections 4928.
First publication date: 1916
Publication date note: Sea Garden (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1916)
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/21

Rhyme: unrhyming


Other poems by H. D.