Pallinode, Book 1, Section 7
We huddled over the fire,
was there ever such a brazier?
a night-bird hooted past,
he started, "a curious flight,
a carrion creature — what—"
(dear God, let him forget);
I said, "there is mystery in this place,
I am instructed, I know the script,
the shape of this bird is a letter,
they call it the hieroglyph;
strive not, it is dedicate
to the goddess here, she is Isis";
"Isis," he said, "or Thetis," I said,
recalling, remembering, invoking
flame, I prayed, flame forget,
forgive and forget the other,
let my heart be filled with peace,
let me love him, as Thetis, his mother,
for I knew him, I saw in his eyes
the sea-enchantment, but he
knew not yet, Helen of Sparta,
knew not Helen of Troy,
knew not Helena, hated of Greece.
Hilda Doolittle, "Pallinode, Book 1, Section 7" from Helen in Egypt. Copyright © 1961 by Hilda Doolittle. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
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Poet H. D. 1886–1961
POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic
SCHOOL / PERIOD Imagist