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Pursuit

H.D. on

Published in Poem Of The Day

What do I care
that the stream is trampled,
the sand on the stream-bank
still holds the print of your foot:
the heel is cut deep.
I see another mark
on the grass ridge of the bank-
it points toward the wood-path.
I have lost the third
in the packed earth.

But here
a wild-hyacinth stalk is snapped:
the purple buds-half ripe-
show deep purple
where your heel pressed.

A patch of flowering grass,
low, trailing-
you brushed this:
the green stems show yellow-green
where you lifted-turned the earth-side
to the light:
this and a dead leaf-spine,
split across,
show where you passed.

You were swift, swift!
here the forest ledge slopes-
rain has furrowed the roots.
Your hand caught at this;
the root snapped under your weight.

I can almost follow the note
where it touched this slender tree
and the next answered-
and the next.

And you climbed yet further!
you stopped by the dwarf-cornel-
whirled on your heels,
doubled on your track.

This is clear-
you fell on the downward slope,
you dragged a bruised thigh-you limped-
you clutched this larch.

Did your head, bent back,
search further-
clear through the green leaf-moss
of the larch branches?

Did you clutch,
stammer with short breath and gasp:
wood-daemons grant life-
give life-I am almost lost.

For some wood-daemon
has lightened your steps.
I can find no trace of you
in the larch-cones and the underbrush.


About this poem

About H.D.
H.D. was born in Pennsylvania in 1886. She was awarded a medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for her works, which included numerous novels and collections of poetry. She died in Switzerland in July of 1961.

***
The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.


This poem is in the public domain. Distributed by King Features Syndicate



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