“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)