Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HIPPOLYTUS TEMPORIZES, by HILDA DOOLITTLE



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HIPPOLYTUS TEMPORIZES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I worship the greatest first
Last Line: Of veins, purple as violets?)
Alternate Author Name(s): H. D.; Aldington, Richard, Mrs.
Subject(s): Bible


I worship the greatest first --
(it were sweet, the couch,
the brighter ripple of cloth
over the dipped fleece;
the thought: her bones
under the flesh are white
as sand which along a beach
covers but keeps the print
of the crescent shapes beneath:
I thought:
between cloth and fleece,
so her body lies.)

I worship first, the great --
(ah, sweet, your eyes --
what God, invoked in Crete,
gave them the gift to part
as the Sidonian myrtle-flower
suddenly, wide and swart,
then swiftly,
the eye-lids having provoked our hearts --
as suddenly beat and close.)

I worship the feet, flawless,
that haunt the hills --
(ah, sweet, dare I think,
beneath fetter of golden clasp,
of the rhythm, the fall and rise
of yours, carven, slight
beneath straps of gold that keep
their slender beauty caught,
like wings and bodies
of trapped birds.)

I worship the greatest first --
(suddenly into my brain --
the flash of sun on the snow,
the fringe of light and the drift,
the crest and the hill-shadow --
ah, surely now I forget,
ah splendour, my goddess turns:
or was it the sudden heat,
beneath quivering of molten flesh,
of veins, purple as violets?)





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