„Sea Rose” was published as one of the poems from Sea Garden in 1916. It uses common images for Hilda Doolittle, mainly flowers, wind and sand. The poem presents a solitary rose, a harsh one, with stint of petals. It is thin and meagre, a complete opposite to what we associate it with. Thinking of a rose, we imagine a long-stemmed precious flower, with wet drops on its petals and delicate fragrance. Nevertheless, the image we get of the sea rose is the exact opposite. The flower gives a crisp smell, is small and stunted. Moreover, it is in the constant movement:
You are flung on the sand
You are lifted
In the crisp sand
That drives in the wind.
The comparison of both flowers, the pretty, garden one and the sea rose, leads to one conclusion. The sea rose, hardened by experience, is more precious than any other flower.
The poem shows H.D’s struggle with feminist issues, which she tries to interweave in the artistic context. In the poem the stereotypical long-stemmed beauty, emblem of idealized womanhood, was confronted with the natural, wind-driven and flung onto the shore. The poet clearly shows that the spicy scent of stereotyped rose fails in comparison with the bitter aroma of a blossom.
The poetry of Hilda Doolittle, a feminist, imagist writer can be compared to the one of Betsy Warland, whose poetry, through imagistic, aural or visual pattern creates new associations, which are beyond our expectations. In her poem “Only This Blue”, Warland presents experience as not only the thing that enriches our inner beauty, but also, the factor that alters our perception and sensitivity.
an oval stone
revolves end over end
toward your forehead
hands shuttering face
as it cracks the windshield
to not be afraid when there was
every reason to fear
understanding tethered to
not wanting to know
A strong image of a stone moving towards the person, gives us a clear idea of what she wanted to convey, mainly that in view of some danger, people start to act. It makes them more aware of the reality surrounding them, stronger and less prone. Experience, just like in the case of the sea rose, is the factor that makes a person more precious and wiser.