Sea garden
Hilda (Doolittle) Aldington

ACON

I

BEAR me to Dictaeus,
and to the steep slopes;
to the river Erymanthus.
I choose spray of dittany,
cyperum, frail of flower,
buds of myrrh,
all-healing herbs,
close pressed in calathes.
For she lies panting,
drawing sharp breaths
broken with harsh sobs,
she, Hyella,
whom no god pities.

II

Dryads
haunting the groves,
nereids
who dwell in wet caves,
for all the white leaves of olive-branch,
and early roses,
and ivy wreaths, woven gold berries,
which she once brought to your altars,
bear now ripe fruits from Arcadia,
and Assyrian wine
to shatter her fever.
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The light of her face falls from its flower,
as a hyacinth,
hidden in a far valley,
perishes upon burnt grass.
Pales,
bring gifts,
bring your Phoenician stuffs,
and do you, fleet-footed nymphs,
bring offerings,
Illyrian iris,
and a branch of shrub,
and frail-headed poppies.
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