“Helen” by H.D.

All Greece hates
the still eyes in the white face,
the lustre as of olives
where she stands,
and the white hands.

All Greece reviles
the wan face when she smiles,
hating it deeper still
when it grows wan and white,
remembering past enchantments
and past ills.

Greece sees unmoved,
God’s daughter, born of love,
the beauty of cool feet
and slenderest knees,
could love indeed the maid,
only if she were laid,
white ash amid funereal cypresses.

 

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), “Helen” from Collected Poems 1912-1944. Copyright © 1982 by The Estate of Hilda Doolittle. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Collected Poems 1912-1944 (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1982)

Helen of Troy by Evelyn De Morgan (1898)

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