Thursday, April 3, 2014

Analysis of "Garden" by H.D.

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Garden" by H.D.
Originally read: September 10, 2013
More information about the Poet:  H.D.


This poem is separated by two sections where the first is more of a dialogue, and the second mostly reminisces about a figment.

"You are clear / O rose, cut in rock, / hard as the descent of hail."  Past me noted, "the image 'hard' goes against natural convention.  Maybe design."  But also note that the focus of the image is "rose," which causes the juxtaposition on tactile expectation.

"I could scrape the colour / from the petals / like spilt dye from a rock."  this is the first mention of the "I" in the poem which desires to have a piece of the rose -- scrape indicates a harsh action, but also a last ditch effort action to keep something.

"If I could break you / I could break a tree."  The first line ine the couplet has a tinge of sentimentality because of the conceptual nature of "break" and the the specific of "you," but the line is saved with the comparative of breaking a tree -- the sentiment of the first line lingers though.

"If I could stir / I could break a tree -- / I could break you."  Past me wrote, "motive?" but note how the lines are inverted to have the sentiment of breaking you as the last sentiment in the first part.  That want is still there, but it's based on the actions or rather inaction of the speaker.  "If I could"  is a phrase repeated showing intent, but not action.

So where does the action go?

The start of part 2, "O wind, rend open the heat, / cut apart the heat, / rend it to tatters."  Look how violent the actions are here and how the speaker is still in the mode of asking, begging, wanting actions to happen.  And here the tactile imagery comes off again as heat -- something intangible, but felt.

But then there's the concern of the speaker with, "Fruit cannot drop . through this thick air,"  The importance of fruit here hasn't been explored up to this point.  Of course there could be allusions to famous fruit (apple of Eve especially as "Garden" in the title), but note how the air, this heat causes the restriction.

     Fruit cannot fall into heat
     that presses up and blunts
     the points of pears
     and rounds the grapes.
     Cut the heat--

Note the idea of construction here.  If things cannot fall, they are formed either mishaped (blunting the points of pears) or shaped (round the grapes).  The things become clear visually when the whole time the poem was more tactile.  And when things are formed clearly, they are more real, and I think this is what the speaker wants, "Cut the heat--"

"plought through it, / turning it on either side / of your path"  Past me stated the focus should be on "the garden."  But I think the rift causes a firm distinction between the fall or the form.  

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