Sea garden
Hilda (Doolittle) Aldington

SEA GODS

I

THEY say there is no hope—
sand—drift—rocks—rubble of the sea—
the broken hulk of a ship,
hung with shreds of rope,
pallid under the cracked pitch.
they say there is no hope
to conjure you—
no whip of the tongue to anger you—
no hate of words
you must rise to refute.
They say you are twisted by the sea,
you are cut apart
by wave-break upon wave-break,
that you are misshapen by the sharp rocks,
broken by the rasp and after-rasp.
That you are cut, torn, mangled,
torn by the stress and beat,
no stronger than the strips of sand
along your ragged beach.

II

But we bring violets,
great masses—single, sweet,
wood-violets, stream-violets,
violets from a wet marsh.
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Violets in clumps from hills,
tufts with earth at the roots,
violets tugged from rocks,
blue violets, moss, cliff, river-violets.
Yellow violets' gold,
burnt with a rare tint—
violets like red ash
among tufts of grass.
We bring deep-purple
bird-foot violets.
We bring the hyacinth-violet,
sweet, bare, chill to the touch—
and violets whiter than the in-rush
of your own white surf.

III

For you will come,
you will yet haunt men in ships,
you will trail across the fringe of strait
and circle the jagged rocks.
You will trail across the rocks
and wash them with your salt,
you will curl between sand-hills—
you will thunder along the cliff;—
break—retreat—get fresh strength—
gather and pour weight upon the beach.
You will draw back,
and the ripple on the sand-shelf
will be witness of your track.
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O privet-white, you will paint
the lintel of wet sand with froth.
You will bring myrrh-bark
and drift laurel-wood from hot coasts!
when you hurl high—high—
we will answer with a shout.
For you will come,
you will come,
you will answer our taut hearts,
you will break the lie of men's thoughts,
and cherish and shelter us.
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