We turn several words over and over these past few days, measuring their weight. Honor versus respect. What is demanded versus what is earned. What is poetry for, I ask myself, if not to closely examine what we mean by what we say, and how we say it. You think language is economy. I imagine crossing the seas, sitting by the feet of people who understand that words are more than the attempt to open the mouth.

To reject the familiar myth: does it free you, or does it burden you?

We leave each other flowers. One blooms, the other wounds.

from Eurydice


At least I have the flowers of myself,
and my thoughts, no god
can take that;
I have the fervour of myself for a presence
and my own spirit for light;

and my spirit with its loss
knows this;
though small against the black,
small against the formless rocks,
hell must break before I am lost;

before I am lost,
hell must open like a red rose
for the dead to pass.

This is from Selected Poems by H.D., edited by Louis L. Martz, published by New Directions, 1982.

I owe people letters. Tomorrow I will have coffee with V., and we will bitch about life, and afterwards I plan to be by myself, and write letters. There are things to do and work is a dog begging for a bone, but I will sit down and write letters until I can no longer feel my hand. I will write to you. I will get to you. I will talk to you. I only ask that you wait. The days have been long lately, and your letters keep me strong. They give me hope. Until recently, I haven’t really had a chance to explore what that really feels. It fills you up, you know? And there is always light. Not the kind that makes you feel weightless, but there is that, too. I meant, a bright space that doesn’t make me think I’m drowning. I meant, there is earth beneath my feet, yes, but above me there is also sky.

Isn’t it funny what this place has become? I talked to myself for years and suddenly no longer.

A conversation today in the car, with my father. We’ve been having a lot of that these days. He tells me, you have to be brave. He tells me this, knowing that if I did I will probably never look back. I love you, I wanted to say. Probably the most today.

My lack of courage has, in fact, been much discussed lately. I suppose it’s inevitable when you come toe to toe with one of the things you most desire in the world. I mean, how do you face that? All the doors and the windows have been opened, my hair is flying in the wind, I am thinking, too fast, it’s all too fast, and I want to laugh and I want to cry, and I’m scared and I’m happy and I’m delirious, and then I’m walking forward, and running, and running towards it, oh god yes, I’m running towards it—

Here’s how I’ve done it so far: I write notes to myself furiously. In the morning I work and drink lots of water. In the evenings I live in my head and talk to all my other selves. I try to get some sleep. I listen to the river, the ocean waves. I despair over my life choices. I fold my clothes. I write letters. I rub my Buddha’s belly. When it gets too tough, I make a sandwich. I wait.

If I’m honest with myself, then this is what I know: another life is slowly being revealed to me. Now for pete’s sake, T., do not be a fuckwit.

from The Flowering of the Rod


I go where I love and where I am loved,
into the snow;

I go to the things I love
with no thought of duty or pity;

I go where I belong, inexorably,
as the rain that has lain long

in the furrow; I have given
or would have given

life to the grain;
but if it will not grow or ripen

with the rain of beauty,
the rain will return to the cloud;

the harvester sharpens his steel on the stone;
but this is not our field,

we have not sown this;
pitiless, pitiless, let us leave

to those who have fashioned it.

This is an excerpt from The Flowering of the Rod, as part of Trilogy by H.D., published by New Directions, 1998.