Monday, 26 March 2012


Was she so chaste--
(Ah, burn my fire, I ask
out of the smoke-ringed darkness
enclosing the flaming disk
of my vision)
I ask for a voice to answer:
was she chaste?

Who can say--
the broken ridge of the hills
was the line of a lover's shoulder,
his arm-turn, the path to the hills,
the sudden leap and swift thunder
of mountain boulders, his laugh.

She was mad--
as no priest, no lover's cult
could grant madness;
the wine that entered her throat
with the touch of the mountain rocks
was white, intoxicant:
she, the chaste,
was betrayed by the glint
of light on the hills,
the granite splinter of rocks,
the touch of the stone
where heat melts
toward the shadow-side of the rocks.

from: H.D., She Rebukes Hippolyta



  1. My heart beats because your heart beats.

  2. ah my beatiful friend this is a powerful masterpeice,actually I just had a book on greek mythology in my hand -hippolyta the ruler of the amazon, the ruler of the nation of women where boys were sent off or killed.
    this is magnificent photography that can represent the distorted seduction the distorted sense of power -so what an incredible match you have made between the photo and the title- the distortion of the face juxtaposed with the title hippolyta, it couldnt be a more exacting example of the distortion of seduction of power the photo named with the cruelty of a woman that exiled all males from the country from her heart and the way she holds her nipple here can also bring to mind the maternal breast feeding of the infant, of the infant of the cosmos later to be exiled,also like the exile from the garden of eden.

    one definition I found of chaste was beautiful to consider here, the balance of the flesh with the inner body it doesnt necessarily have to represent sexual abstinence.
    and I do like the way the poem speaks to us as if betrayal is natural.....

    ew you magnificent artist you.

  3. ce frumos a scris mirae aici,ce mult din ceea ce simt eu a spus ea;aceasta castitate,care mi-a dat mie de gandit atat de mult,m-as incurca in cararile gandului,se spune ca ea este,de multe ori,o alegere,si poate ca da,e mai usor sa spui"cast"si gata,dar nu,nici eu nu cred ca are o legatira prea profunda cu sexualitatea-sa vada li ce spun:)

    iar imaginea este cum numai tu am vazut ca ai fi putut sa o surprinzi,da,bratara ei de regina o face regina peste tot ce ar putea sa existe,"nebunia"ei este dincolo,la fel...trebuie sa fii cineva,ca sa ii poti sustine privirea

  4. her gaze smolders ... no, that is not enough -- the word "smolder" was invented to describe her gaze ... it is easy to believe that her chastity would be broached only by the mountains, by the sun on the rocks ...

    and the ambiguity of her gesture!! is her hand shaped for the string of a bow??

    magnificent :-))

  5. i want this to be wrong to say, such power frightens me, but it is rather close to the truth, but it is not seen every day, power such as this. who could argue with her decisions? she could redefine all language, i think, tear trees from roots, make me believe chaste is a state of mind - quivering mind.


  6. i am presently looking up Hippolyta in my imaginary 'Book of Imaginary Beings,' which i wrote in 1959, some years before i was born. Naturally, having a Jorge Luis Borges complex--and consequently having a tendency to speak of reality as though it were a cousin, twice removed--the veracity of these statements may be in question. But isn't this just the sort of thing you should expect from a charming but hopelessly unreliable narrator?

    The comments on these pages can be surprising at times. This is because the bridge ably plumbs the depths of the unknown (that vast sea bed of mythology) and manages to meticulously mine the minds of its readers (the frail are cautioned to reread the latter part of the sentence carefully in order to avoid strange forms of echolalia). But, fundamentally, there is a writer* (that is you, dearest) and a reader*** (that is me). A great amount is added to the cosmic soup when other readers arrive and, considering that the writer's self is equally subdivided into separate entities (read multiple selves), a fresh explosion of possibilities is announced. (i suppose she is now reaching for a bottle of aspirin and, as a purely diversionary tactic, reviewing salient chapters in her survival manual, becoming fixated on the many ways of starting brush fires with a hair brush!)

    * i acknowledge that H.D. (or Happy Days as she is known by a small circle of people**) wrote this poem. But by writer i mean that you have selected this piece and have coupled it with something that never existed before (a pure act of creation). This creation, and subsequent coupling, i call writing.

    ** a circle as small as the head of a pin.

    *** the important concepts of 'reader as writer' and 'writer as reader,' as i am sure Michael T. will agree, are not only instances of zebras changing their stripes (or, more appropriately in the case of the three Princes, camels changing their humps), but also instances of perpetually expanding possibilities.

  7. Life throbs until it can't. (Loved the Patti Smith reference from M.S.)

  8. I couldn't be more taken with that poem. I don't think I will ever go out to the desert and look at a distant mountain without thinking about the reference to a "lovers shoulder." The high contrast of the mysterious image sings a perfect duet with the words. I can carry this within and forward so easily...

  9. Une belle amazone aux yeux sombres...:)
    Je t'embrasse Roxana...

  10. myth,

    her gaze, her entire pose in this picture would no doubt make one feel that, i believe :-) i was just reading your hippie-post now and smiled, remembering your Patti Smith approval here :-)

    i will go back and listen to the song as well, after that.

    Madeleine, you have such an astute sense of observation, i was puzzled by your remark about her nipple, at first i didn't realize what you might be hinting at, then i looked closer from various angles and i think i know what you mean! :-) however, that is just a shadowy illusion, as what is visible there is actually the top of her little finger, bent on the inside - i solved the mystery, though now i am sorry about the beautiful interpretation of the maternal feeding! after all, why would we care if that is really a nipple or not :-)

    i am very happy you find that the photo fits the title, at first i thought of her as Artemis but then i remembered Hippolyta - they are quite similar, though... i wasn't concerned here with her men-hating/killing aspects, after all she falls for Theseus, but with questions of inner strength and purity, how one could define 'chastity' of the mind, beyond that of the 'body'...

    bises back :-)

  11. swiss,

    i love her too!!! then you can start rejoicing, as i plan a larger series of goddesses, and i will use a lot of H.D. to illustrate it - i already have three other choices ready, but who knows when i come to post them, it all depends on my oh-so-changing moods :-)

    Cerasela, mie aici nu mi se pare că există cineva care să-i poate susţine privirea, mă hipnotizează această imagine... iar versurile, ştiu ştiu... întrebările noastre, iar hilda este magnifică, nu ştiu dacă ai citit până acum.

  12. mts



    oh, how right you are, how you found again the perfect words to describe what i feel, about the word 'smolder', which i adore in english, and her gaze here... and the ambiguity, yes, i have wondered about this too, that gesture, the impossible seduction and yet defiance, the cold purity of that bracelet...

  13. erin, i know. i have the same feeling as well. frightened, but i am also drawn to this, towards the possibility of such power, born out of such unseen, absolute concentration of the quivering mind, such purity of one's will... perhaps because i am the opposite, a perfect hamletian nature, so i cannot be but fascinated with the silvery certainty with which the arrow splits the air.

  14. Prospero, ah, i would have never suspected your barthien nature! :-) i must say i rather agree with your analysis, i like the image of infinite explosions of possibilities here on the Bridge, though the part with 'mining the minds of my readers' should better be left in the shadow, at least cunningly camouflaged :-)

    but these possibilities are also closures, not only openings: you see, by associate the photo with hippolyta and this precise poem, i have already narrowed the ways of interpretation for the reader, by the same gesture with which i have created something new - if i had only posted the photo, without any title or such, or a totally different context, there would have been much more doors, freely open to different, endless interpretations.

  15. clo, chere amie, merci de tout coeur pour ton passage aujourd'hui, je suis emue par le fait que tu as pris le temps de visiter le pont, je t'embrasse de tout coeur et a tres bientot!

  16. in fact, thinking again about this:

    what is important to me here, most important, is the idea that eroticism is not limited to a sexual level, but rather, as i perceive it in the poem and as i have always felt, a state of the mind&body, a way of being-in-the-world, of experiencing reality: both diving into the other, be it a hill or a tree or a person, while at the same time welcoming the other within oneself, the perpetual in and out of an embrace melting the clear boundaries between 'i' and 'you'...

  17. I agree so much with what you just wrote in your comments. I get so jealous sometimes of my dog. Or a bird in the tree. Or all other creatures that live in an instinctive (erotic) harmony with life. Our consciousness is alienated by our delusional beliefs that we are separate from all other life. That we are special. So much religious literature and philosophy (Camus) speaks of some ancient time when some wrong turn was taken, some fall occurred. Some evolution of the ego that separated us from everything else. We were expelled from 'the garden'. Alienated. Sometimes when we look at the simple beauty and harmony of the rest of life, we are jealous...and lonely. Consciousness can be a form of exile. Sometimes I would like to trade places with my dog. But then I think that would be a cruel thing to put upon her.

  18. well as I was saying my friend, I felt like expanding on this idea and your comment. No I see what you see about the little finger and well I noticed the nipple because I was looking for the nipple as the bare exposed skin in the seductive lighting led me to expect eroticism and I felt that this wasn't possible unless the nipple was exposed.well maybe I have been drawing nudes for too long to think that way.
    My drawings of the nude are always calligraphic but I draw in a studio where these considerations are always made between the sensuous and the erotic and the pornographic.
    well yes my maternal interpretation of the woman as nuturing mother is possible without including the nipple so I am pleased that you enjoyed this.
    thankyou beautiful Roxana for enjoying this comment.
    sending you colorful kisses.

  19. myth, yes, all this. thank you so much for combing back to this post to share these thoughts. i sometimes think that it is this separation, the fact that we have forgotten to speak _with_ the other, with a common voice, instead of speaking _to_ the other and trying to dominate, that will bring about our destruction and disappearance...

  20. Madeleine, now that you have mentioned them, i want to see those drawings, i really must!!! :-)

    bisous again!