H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) in the 1910s
The Cliff Temple
[from Sea Garden, 1916]
Great, bright portal,
High—high—and no hill-goat
The world heaved—
Below us, on the rock-edge,
And under and under,
Could a daemon avenge this hurt,
Shall I hurl myself from here,
* * *
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shelf of rock,
rocks fitted in long ledges,
rocks fitted to dark, to silver granite,
to lighter rock—
clean cut, white against white.
has set foot on your fine grass;
you lift, you are the-world-edge,
pillar for the sky-arch.
we are next to the sky:
over us, sea-hawks shout,
gulls sweep past—
the terrible breakers are silent
from this place.
where earth is caught in the fissures
of the jagged cliff,
a small tree stiffens in the gale,
it bends—but its white flowers
are fragrant at this height.
the wind booms:
it whistles, it thunders,
it growls—it presses the grass
beneath its great feet.
for ever and for ever, must I follow you
through the stones?
I catch at you—you lurch:
you are quicker than my hand-grasp.
I would cry to him—could a ghost,
I would shout—O evil,
follow this god,
taunt him with his evil and his vice.
shall I leap and be nearer you?
Shall I drop, beloved, beloved,
ankle against ankle?
Would you pity me, O white breast?
Have you heard,
do you know how I climbed this rock?
My breath caught, I lurched forward—