The H.D. Blog 6

In section [6], we recieve another allegory of the I as a creature, via reverse anthropomorphism (is there a name for this, to give a human animal qualities?). If not for the precise language and images, if not for the spinning rhythm and shrouding ceasurae, all this might be a little tedious. I got the bee, chick, and hare; the clam, mollusc, shell-fish, and oyster; do i really need the worm? this poem is becoming a veritable noah’s ark! But i think that is perhaps the point. I wonder if H.D. had in mind an audience of children… Sometimes the tone does shift to H.D. telling a story while tucking us into bed (perhaps it doesn’t help that i write these posts in bed, before i go to sleep), a little lullably to help sleep because the noise of war surrounds and the walls of her voice have not fallen but the room is opened to the ruins and she shrouds with her words:

In me (the worm) clearly
Is no righteousness, but this –

persistence; I escaped spider-snare,
bird-claw, scavenger bird-beak,

clung to grass-blade,
the back of a leaf

when the storm-wind
tore it from its stem;

I escaped, I explored
rose-thorn forest,

was rain-swept
down in the valley of a leaf;

was deposited on grass,
where mast by jeweled mast

bore separate ravellings
of encrusted gem-stuff

of the mist
from each banner-staff:

[…]

I eat my way out of it;
gorged on vine-leaf and mulberry,

parasite, I find nourishment:
[…]

a worm on the leaf,
a worm in the dust,

a worm on the ear-of-wheat,
I am yet unrepentant,

for I know how the Lord God
is about to manifest, when I,

the industrious worm,
spin my own shroud.

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