Wash of Cold River

By H. D. 1886–1961 H. D.
Wash of cold river
in a glacial land,
Ionian water,
chill, snow-ribbed sand,
drift of rare flowers,
clear, with delicate shell-
like leaf enclosing
frozen lily-leaf,
camellia texture,
colder than a rose;

wind-flower
that keeps the breath
of the north-wind—
these and none other;

intimate thoughts and kind
reach out to share
the treasure of my mind,
intimate hands and dear
drawn garden-ward and sea-ward
all the sheer rapture
that I would take
to mould a clear
and frigid statue;

rare, of pure texture,
beautiful space and line,
marble to grace
your inaccessible shrine.

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), “Wash of Cold River” from Collected Poems 1912-1944. Copyright © 1982 by The Estate of Hilda Doolittle. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Collected Poems 1912-1944 (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1982)

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Poet H. D. 1886–1961

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Imagist

Subjects Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Nature, Painting & Sculpture, Relationships, Winter, Arts & Sciences, Trees & Flowers

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Imagist

 H.  D.

Biography

H.D.’s life and work recapitulate the central themes of literary modernism: the emergence from Victorian norms and certainties, the entry into an age characterized by rapid technological change and the violence of two great wars, and the development of literary modes which reflected the disintegration of traditional symbolic systems and the mythmaking quest for new meanings. H.D.’s oeuvre spans five decades of the twentieth . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Nature, Painting & Sculpture, Relationships, Winter, Arts & Sciences, Trees & Flowers

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Imagist

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Imagist

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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