Original Document
Original Document
H. D. [Hilda Doolittle], "Sheltered Garden," Sea Garden, 1916.

    I have had enough.
    I gasp for breath.
    Every way ends, every road,
    every foot-path leads at last
    to the hill-crest --
    then you retrace your steps,
    or find the same slope on the other side,
    I have had enough --
    border-pinks, clove-pinks, wax-lilies,
    herbs, sweet-cress.
    O for some sharp swish of a branch --
    there is no scent of resin
    in this place,
    no taste of bark, of coarse weeds,
    aromatic, astringent --
    only border on border of scented pinks.
    Have you seen fruit under cover
    that wanted light --
    pears wadded in cloth,
    protected from the frost,
    melons, almost ripe,
    smothered in straw?
    Why not let the pears cling
    to the empty branch?
    All your coaxing will only make
    a bitter fruit --
    let them cling, ripen of themselves,
    test their own worth,
    nipped, shrivelled by the frost,
    to fall at last but fair
    with a russet coat.
    Or the melon --
    let it bleach yellow
    in the winter light,
    even tart to the taste --
    it is better to taste of frost --
    the exquisite frost --
    than of wadding and of dead grass.
    For this beauty,
    beauty without strength,
    chokes out life.
    I want wind to break,
    scatter these pink-stalks,
    snap off their spiced heads,
    fling them about with dead leaves --
    spread the paths with twigs,
    limbs broken off,
    trail great pine branches,
    hurled across the melon-patch,
    break pear and quince --
    leave half-trees, torn, twisted
    but showing the fight was valiant.
    O to blot out this garden
    to forget, to find a new beauty
    in some terrible
    wind-tortured place.

Credit: H.D. Papers. Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University and New Directions Publishing
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