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About this Poem 

“Sea Lily” was published in Sea Garden (Constable and Company, Ltd, 1916). 

Sea Lily

slashed and torn
but doubly rich—
such great heads as yours
drift upon temple-steps,
but you are shattered
in the wind.

is flecked from you,
scales are dashed
from your stem,
sand cuts your petal,
furrows it with hard edge,
like flint
on a bright stone.

Yet though the whole wind
slash at your bark,
you are lifted up,
aye—though it hiss
to cover you with froth.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

H. D.

H. D.

Born in 1886, Hilda Doolittle was one of the leaders of the Imagist movement.

by this poet


The city is peopled
with spirits, not ghosts, O my love:

Though they crowded between
and usurped the kiss of my mouth
their breath was your gift,
their beauty, your life.


It was easy enough
to bend them to my wish,
it was easy enough
to alter them with a touch,
but you
adrift on the great sea,
how shall I call you back?

Cedar and white ash,
rock-cedar and sand plants
and tamarisk
red cedar and white cedar
and black cedar from

White, O white face—
from disenchanted days 
wither alike dark rose 
and fiery bays: 
no gift within our hands,
nor strength to praise, 
only defeat and silence; 
though we lift hands, disenchanted, 
of small strength, nor raise 
branch of the laurel 
or the light of torch, 
but fold the garment 
on the riven