Sunday, 4 January 2009


Orion Dead

(Artemis speaks)

The cornel-trees
uplift from the furrows,
the roots at their bases
strike lower through the barley-sprays.

So arise and face me.
I am poisoned with the rage of song.

I once pierced the flesh
of the wild-deer,
now am I afraid to touch
the blue and the gold-veined hyacinths?

I will tear the full flowers
and the little heads
of the grape-hyacinths.
I will strip the life from the bulb
until the ivory layers
lie like narcissus petals
on the black earth.

lest I bend an ash-tree
into a taut bow,
and slay -- and tear
all the roots from the earth.

The cornel-wood blazes
and strikes through the barley-sprays,
but I have lost heart for this.

I break a staff.
I break the tough branch.
I know no light in the woods.
I have lost pace with the winds.


Sorlil said...

I really like all of the H.D. poems at your link - must look out more of her stuff. I've also been rereading Meg Bateman's Fair Wind and really must get a hold of her Aotromachd book also.

swiss said...

i've liked h.d. from the moment i first read her. sometimes i can fiond myself going a little flat on her but usually it's because i'm just not in the mood. i really love this one - mythology, stars, random death - what more could you want! but it bears reading slowly. that rage of song line is just fantastic!

bateman? i'm still a bit peeved with bateman for reasons i;ve outlined before. do you have an leabhar mor yet? or an tuil? i'd highly recommend both

Roxana said...

yes, it is fabulous, I agree with you about the rage of song line. but the whole poem makes me lose my breath. I had never read H.D. until now, what a discovery!

swiss said...

yes, i was pirating my shelves last night to find some more of her. there is a selcted works out so i think i'll need to be getting that.

a wee bit like octavio paz, i'm constantly astonished that she's not more well known or talked about. there's a recording of her her reading helen of egypt here

which goes some way to supporting my position that poets are often best not left to read their own work ; )

Roxana said...

I was searching through the same archives right now :-) I had not even heard of her, can you imagine? which doesn't say much, however, because I am not well read in english poetry.

I see your point :-) (but I don't know if I agree, especially after listening to the three stories)

Sorlil said...

no I don't have any other gaelic poetry, perhaps this year I'll look into more

swiss said...

you need to be investing in a copy of an leabhar mor for certain, and an tuil you can get on amazon for a fiver. a steal!