“Eurydice” by H.D.


So you have swept me back —
I who could have walked with the live souls
above the earth,
I who could have slept among the live flowers
at last.

So for your arrogance
and your ruthlessness
I am swept back
where dead lichens drip
dead cinders upon moss of ash.

So for your arrogance
I am broken at last,
I who had lived unconscious,
who was almost forgot.

If you had let me wait
I had grown from listlessness
into peace —
if you had let me rest with the dead,
I had forgot you
and the past.


Here only flame upon flame
and black among the red sparks,
streaks of black and light
grown colourless.

Why did you turn back,
that hell should be reinhabited
of myself thus
swept into nothingness?

Why did you turn,
why did you glance back —
why did you hesitate for that moment,
why did you bend your face
caught with the flame of the upper earth
above my face?

What was it that crossed my face
with the light from yours
and your glance?

What was it you saw in my face —
the light of your own face,
the fire of your own presence?

What had my face to offer
but reflex of the earth —
hyacinth colour
caught from the raw fissure in the rock
where the light struck,
and the colour of azure crocuses
and the bright surface of gold crocuses
and of the wind-flower,
swift in its veins as lightning
and as white.


Saffron from the fringe of the earth,
wild saffron that has bent
over the sharp edge of earth,
all the flowers that cut through the earth,
all, all the flowers are lost.
Everything is lost,
everything is crossed with black,
black upon black
and worse than black —
this colourless light.


"Eurydice" by Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) was published in the 1917 Some Imagist Poets anthology. To read the poem in full in digitized versions of this publication, follow the links below:


The Modernist Journals Project

Project Gutenberg