Sea garden
Hilda (Doolittle) Aldington

PURSUIT

What do I care
that the stream is trampled,
the sand on the stream-bank
still holds the print of your foot:
the heel is cut deep.
I see another mark on the grass ridge of the bank—
it points toward the wood-path
I have lost the third in the packed earth.
But here
a wild-hyacinth stalk is snapped:
the purple buds—half ripe—
show deep purple
where your heel pressed.
A patch of flowering grass,
low, trailing—
you brushed this:
the green stems show yellow-green
where you lifted—turned the earth-side
to the light:
this and a dead leaf-spine
split across,
show where you passed.
You were swift,swift!
here the forest ledge slopes—
rain has furrowed the roots.
Your hand caught at this;
the root snapped under your weight.
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I can almost follow the note
where it touched this slender tree
and the next answered—
and the next.
And you climbed yet further!
you stopped by the dwarf-cornel—
whirled on your heels,
doubled on your track.
This is clear—
you fell on the downward slope,
you dragged a bruised thigh—you limped—
you clutched this larch.
Did your head, bent back,
Search further—
clear through the green leaf-moss
of the larch branches?
Did you clutch,
stammer with short breath and gasp:
wood-daemons grant life—
give life—I am almost lost.
For some wood-daemon
has lightened your steps.
I can find no trace of you
in the larch-cones and the underbrush.
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