The Garden

In H.D.’s “The Garden,” a figure is rendered motionless by a stifling, oppressive heat. From her stillness, the narrator admires a rose as it grows through rock and ponders its strength in comparison to her own weakness. In the second stanza, the narrator pleads with the wind to cut through the heat and provide relief. The heat is described as capable of bending the shapes of fruit and thickening the air to a point which prevents fruit from falling. The poem itself can be read as an examination of the strength of natural elements, in which humanity is ultimately rendered weak and powerless. However, it can also be read as larger metaphor about the oppressive force of power in general. When H.D.’s poetry was rediscovered in the 1970s by feminist and LGBTQ movements this poem was interpreted as a representation of patriarchal oppression of marginalized groups. The speaker, rendered immobile by a heat so intense it stops gravity and prevents her from moving, can only imagine her own power as a hypothetical statement that will never come to pass.

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