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But ever fixed, as yet,
And where can we find anything more humanly and poignantly beautiful than A Baby Asleep After Pain 2
As a drenched, drowned bee
Several of the poems in this book are already known to American lovers of poetry. Snap-dragon was in the first Georgian Verse anthology, and four of the other poems, under different titles, have been published in PoETRY, although no reference is made to the fact. But, read as a whole, the book has a cumulative effect that sets Lawrence definitely in the front rank of English poets. E. T.
Sea-garden, by H. D. The New Poetry Series. Boston,
tians or pagans, have all this trait in common—that they
describe in terms of ordinary experience some super-normal
H. D.'s Vision
experience. The unpractised reader, picking up H. D.'s Sea-garden and reading it casually, might suppose it was all about flowers and rocks and waves and Greek myths, when it is really about the soul, or the primal intelligence, or the Nous, or whatever we choose to call that link that binds us to the unseen and uncreated. This small volume is indeed a garden, but of such flowers as not many eyes may see: flowers in some way made perfect and unfading through their own exceeding bitterness. The light burns sharp here, like a sword; it is painful to walk in the glare of this beauty. Here are useless and beautiful things: flowers rootless, scentless; and beyond, the everlasting grind of the sea on the rocks, and a lonely temple or statue, aloof and unresponding. And if we wander here long enough and make our minds receptive to these influences, we soon discover that all this is only a veil of beautiful texture hung before the shrine. Behind the veil we can catch with ever-increasing brightness the outline of a myth, that is to say, an eternal reflection of the ephemeral. To penetrate H. D.'s inner meaning, it is only necessary that we approach her poetry with an open and responsive mind— that we make a mirror of ourselves to reflect the light she has caught in her mirror. But this state of mind, receptive, quiescent, is also necessary if we are to understand Plotinus, or Dionysius the Areopagite, or Paracelsus, or Behmen, or Swedenborg, or Blake, or any other of the mystics. As I read and re-read this small volume for it is necessary to read it many times, I cease to care whether this is or is not what the academic critics choose to label Poetry, or whether it is or is not Imagism. Whatever it is, the form is as inevitable as the substance, since neither form nor substance has been created independently. It is beauty independent of laws, holding but to its own hard and bitter perfection. Perhaps not to many it will appeal, because most of us have the human thirst for imperfection; for the sea-change and not for the sea-peace that follows after the change; for the surface dance and glitter and not for the profound, calm light of the depth. But to some it will appeal, and its future is safe in their hands.
It were folly to attempt to quote from a book which is so much of one piece, tempered as this. But if human preferences and prejudices could yet intrude I would select the entire poem entitled The Gift—a poem I do not understand and which I feel I am not worthy to understand— as my own undoubted preference. Yet I have not space for this, so I must pick out instead one of those exquisite little flower-pieces, as an example of the art that H. D. has made her own.
The white violet
The greater blue violets
H. D.'s Vision
John Gould Fletcher
WAR AND WOMAN HOOD
Harvest Moon, by Josephine Preston Peabody. Houghton Mifflin Co. This book contains, perhaps, the best work that Mrs. Marks has done. Her art, always delicate, responds to the experiences of life, so that each thought, as it comes, falls naturally and surely into its own medium, and the reader need have no concern with tools. What is the charm that we look for in each new book she brings out? It is not easy to define, although surely these are some of the things that make for it: the heart of a woman, of a mother, that is nevertheless always the heart of a child; subtlety, yet downrightness; an ear contending for the music of the line; power to seize and hold her vision, and an intuition embracing what has been and what may never be, in the world upon which she looks, in which she listens. Mrs. Marks' work is elusive, never coarsely obvious. With her the tone of a little flute on the air may tell more vital truths than any martial crash of sound. I think that, notwithstanding denials that the war has developed poets, the time has come when we must claim that it has given the world a new poetic intake of breath. French poems from the trenches prove it, and now and then a rare English song has a strength of appeal which is an achievement. But no poet of war times except Mrs. Marks has given us a clear, full, rounded wreath of lights to send rays wherever woman bears heavily the burden of war; for war is now, as it has been throughout the ages, the burden of woman. In this book tenderly, understandingly, she gathers to her all womankind. She has the power, too, to enter the very soul of dumb animals, and look men through and through with their eyes.
We may linger over these poems singly; but they belong together. They tell us that there is a higher way of settling the world's disputes than by blood and steel, if men would only see. Here we have no longer the picture of a mother sending her son forth to battle with a “God bless you! Go! —fight for your country!” Very different is the mother of dead sons who pours out the bitterness of her heart to the harvest moon:
You will be laughing now, remembering
You, far more wise
Than to give life to men.
In all of these poems, some of hope, some stern with purpose to show men a higher heritage than that of hate, not even the darkest shadow is without its gleam of faith—to be sought, perhaps, as radium in pitch-blend, but unquenchably alive.
There are poems we remember, and hail anew in book form. Who could forget Woman-vigil, done in sweeping