“Sea Gods” by H.D.

Sea Gods

They say there is no hope—
Sand — drift — rocks — rubble of the sea —
The broken hulk of a ship,
Hung with shreds of rope,
Pallid under the cracked pitch.

They say there is no hope
To conjure you —
No whip of the tongue to anger you—
No hate of words
You must rise to refute.

They say you are twisted by the sea,
You are cut apart
By wave-break upon wave-break,
That you are misshapen by the sharp rocks,
Broken by the rasp and after-rasp.

That you are cut, torn, mangled,
Torn by the stress and beat,
No stronger than the strips of sand
Along your ragged beach.

But we bring violets,
Great masses — single, sweet,
Wood-violets, stream-violets,
Violets from a wet marsh.

Violets in clumps from hills,
Tufts with earth at the roots,
Violets tugged from rocks,
Blue violets, moss, cliff, river-violets.

Yellow violets' gold,
Burnt with a rare tint —
Violets like red ash
Among tufts of grass.

We bring deep-purple
Bird-foot violets.
We bring the hyacinth-violet,
Sweet, bare, chill to the touch—
And violets whiter than the in-rush
Of your own white surf.

[ . . . ]

H.D.'s poem "Sea Gods" was published in the 1916 Some Imagist Poets anthology. To read the poem in full in this publication context follow the links below:


The Modernist Journals Project

Project Gutenberg (text version)

“In Bad Taste” by Osbert Sitwell

In Bad Taste

The platitudinous multitude advance,
They tear their hair and speak with bated breath,
And some are young—tho' prematurely aged,
And others old—tho' desperately young.
Sometimes they roar out biblical abuse,
At other times they wrap their ranting thoughts
In the fair-woven garment of hypocrisy,
Or roll their silly eyes,—or uplifted
Thank God they are not like to Publicans.
But most I love their favourite axiom
That age is but a virtue, youth a sin:—
" This line is gloomy and this view is false.
Life is a thing of joy and platitudes.
Oh ! to be simple now that Spring is here!
Play Oranges and Lemons, Nuts and May,
And sing and gambol through a joyous day.—
When we were young, we danced upon the hills
In tall top-hats and patent-leather shoes
To the wild music of a mandoline.
All decent youth should sing ' the Rosary'
In a sweet, simple, untrained tenor voice,
Or softly whistle ' Songs of Araby':—
Then would you grow to a malign old age,

[ . . . ]

Osbert Sitwell's poem "In Bad Taste" was published as the preface to the second printing of the first "cycle" (issue) of the Wheels poetry anthology. The first edition of the first cycle was published in December 1916 and the second edition was published in March 1917. To read "In Bad Taste" in full in its original publication context, follow the link below:

The Modernist Journals Project

“Sunday in a Certain City Suburb” by Maxwell Bodenheim

Sunday in a Certain City Suburb

Four men whose lives are the beginning of sun-
                                                             silenced afternoons,
And whose orange and red scarfs are the sole flowers
Of the washed-out afternoons,
Sit, shifting dominoes.
The afternoon outside of them dies, as fruit slowly
                                                 pressed between fingers,
But still the four stiff men shift dominoes . . . 
Their wives, wide women with tight, garnished hair,
Sit in the back-yard, whispering tiny secrets and
                                        munching strings of grapes.


[ . . . ]


Maxwell Bodenheim's poem "Sunday in a Certain City Suburb" was published in the 1916 Others anthology. To read the rest of this poem in this publication context visit the following link(s):


HathiTrust - original copy from Harvard University

HathiTrust - original copy from University of Michigan

“The Bird at Dawn” by Harold Monro

The Bird at Dawn

What I saw was just one eye
In the dawn as I was going:
A bird can carry all the sky
In that little button glowing.

Never in my life I went
So deep into the firmament.

He was standing on a tree,
All in blossom overflowing;
And he purposely looked hard at me,
At first, as if to question merrily:
'Where are you going?'
But next some far more serious thing to say:
I could not answer, could not look away.

Oh, that hard, round, and so distracting eye:
Little mirror of all sky!—
And then the after-song another tree
Held, and sent radiating back on me.

If no man had invented human word,
And a bird-song had been
The only way to utter what we mean,
What would we men have heard,
What understood, what seen,
Between the trills and pauses, in between
The singing and the silence of a bird?


Harold Monro's poem "The Bird at Dawn" was published in the 1917 Georgian Poetry anthology. To see it in a digitized version of this publication click the following link(s):


Project Gutenberg (text version)