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Sea Violet (By: H.D)

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Jennifer Boardman

on 19 March 2014

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Transcript of Sea Violet (By: H.D)

The white violet
is scented on its stalk,
the sea-violet
fragile as agate,
lies fronting all the wind
among the torn shells
on the sand-bank.

The greater blue violets
flutter on the hill,
but who would change for these
who would change for these
one root of the white sort?

your grasp is frail
on the edge of the sand-hill,
but you catch the light—
frost, a star edges with its fire.

Sea Violet
"flutter on the hill"
"among the torn shells"
"your grasp is frail"
"scented on its stalk"
"but you catch the light -- frost, a star edges with its fire"
"fragile as agate"
"fronting the wind"
"fragile as agate"
The White Flower
The white flower
has beauty that is deeper inside.
The flower by the sea,
strong as stone,
faces the power of the wind
along with the broken shells
along the shore.

The larger plentiful blue flowers
dance with the wind.
But why would you want to be those flowers?
Why would you want the beauty of just the root of a white flower?

you may seem weak
amidst everything around you.
But you come out strong,
like a star lined with fire.
By: Shweta, Meghna, and JennyKate
Sea Violet (By: H.D)
Once you come across the line
"but who would change for these"
the poem becomes empowering. H.D explains how the greater blue violets flutter along the hill while the white violet is fronting it. The inner beauty ("scented at its stalk"). is more powerful and special than outer beauty, because it is more fiery, genuine, and rare
Line 10 says
who would change for these"

The tone shifts from describing the white flower and the blue violets to showing how the white flower is more beautiful and more powerful.
The attitude also shifts from neutral towards both types of flowers to preferring the white flower.
Title Revisited
"Sea" symbolizes freedom.
"Violet" symbolizes innocence.
Together, they describe that with innocence comes freedom because there are fewer preconceived notions to hold you back.
The poet is trying to tell us that purity and inner beauty should be valued more than flamboyance and outer beauty. She discusses strength and the power it truly holds. The underlying issue is that there is more than what meets the eye.
Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) was an avant-garde Imagist (favors imagery and clear, sharp language) poet during the early 20th century.

H.D. was born in Pennsylvania in 1886, and moved to London in 1911 where her publications earned her a central role within the then emerging Imagist movement.
In 1916, she published her first book, Sea Garden, which included poems such as Sea Violet and Sea Rose.
From 1916–17, she acted as the literary editor of the Egoist journal, while her poetry appeared in the English Review and the Transatlantic Review. During the First World War, H.D. suffered the death of her brother and the breakup of her marriage to the poet Richard Aldington. These events affected her poetry which became her cry of loneliness.

Her work is noted for its incorporation of natural scenes and objects, seen in Sea Violet, which are often used to emote a particular feeling or mood.

H.D. also made statements through her personal life. H.D. married once, and undertook a number of heterosexual and lesbian relationships. She was unapologetic about her sexuality, and thus became an icon for both the gay rights and feminist movements when her poems, plays, letters and essays were rediscovered during the 1970s and 1980s.
Hilda Doolittle
"The greater blue violets, flutter on the hill
But who would change for these who would change for these
one root of the white sort?"
September 10, 1886 – September 27, 1961
The words "sea violet" make me think of calmness and peacefulness because violet is a deep purple that gives a sense of relaxation, as does the sea. I think the poem will be about a flow or maybe about which situations and circumstances make Doolittle feel calm.
Microcosmus Sabatieri
Upon further research, the poem could refer not only to a flower but also to a marine invertebrate. It has a rock-like appearance. However, once you look past its ugly appearance, you will find that it's actually pretty good when cooked as a food, as is done in Chile and some parts of Europe.
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