Hilda Doolittle

Here you will find the Poem Sheltered Garden of poet Hilda Doolittle

Sheltered Garden

I have had enough. 
I gasp for breath. 

Every way ends, every road, 
every foot-path leads at last 
to the hill-crest -- 
then you retrace your steps, 
or find the same slope on the other side, 

I have had enough -- 
border-pinks, clove-pinks, wax-lilies, 
herbs, sweet-cress. 

O for some sharp swish of a branch -- 
there is no scent of resin 
in this place, 
no taste of bark, of coarse weeds, 
aromatic, astringent -- 
only border on border of scented pinks. 

Have you seen fruit under cover 
that wanted light -- 
pears wadded in cloth, 
protected from the frost, 
melons, almost ripe, 
smothered in straw? 

Why not let the pears cling 
to the empty branch? 
All your coaxing will only make 
a bitter fruit -- 
let them cling, ripen of themselves, 
test their own worth, 
nipped, shrivelled by the frost, 
to fall at last but fair 
with a russet coat. 

Or the melon -- 
let it bleach yellow 
in the winter light, 
even tart to the taste -- 
it is better to taste of frost -- 
the exquisite frost -- 
than of wadding and of dead grass. 

For this beauty, 
beauty without strength, 
chokes out life. 
I want wind to break, 
scatter these pink-stalks, 
snap off their spiced heads, 
fling them about with dead leaves -- 
spread the paths with twigs, 
limbs broken off, 
trail great pine branches, 
hurled from some far wood 
right across the melon-patch, 
break pear and quince -- 
leave half-trees, torn, twisted 
but showing the fight was valiant. 

O to blot out this garden 
to forget, to find a new beauty 
in some terrible 
wind-tortured place.