Hilda Doolittle

(10 September 1886 – 27 September 1961 / Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)

Helen - Poem by Hilda Doolittle

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.


Comments about Helen by Hilda Doolittle

  • (4/3/2017 12:14:00 AM)


    Simply superb narration of emotions of Greece towards Helen of troy. (Report) Reply

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  • Julie Smith (4/2/2017 5:40:00 PM)


    A very beautiful poem inspired by Helen of Troy I guess. There will only be peace when she is gone but is this really better? It's very sad and touching! (Report) Reply

  • (4/2/2017 3:45:00 PM)


    Why do I think this poem refers to the White Goddess known as the Moon..odd..but could be a marble statue or one of the columns of the Acropolis..puzzling.. (Report) Reply

  • John S (4/2/2017 2:30:00 PM)


    ((In Greek legend, the Trojan War was fought between the Greeks and the city of Troy. The direct cause of this war was the beauty of Helen of Troy, daughter of the Greek god Zeus and Leda, the Queen of Sparta...))
    So, the war was fought over the love of Helen of Troy, the most beautiful women in Troy, the most beautiful women known to Man.
    The war lasted 10 years and caused much devastation, which must be why the Greeks will only be happy when she is laid to rest, so peace will prosper!
    (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (4/2/2017 12:39:00 PM)


    a lovely poem of a beautiful Grecian tragedy? ......nicely penned. (Report) Reply

  • John S (4/2/2017 9:25:00 AM)


    Loved it - Thanks - - Thanks so much - - loved it - - Thanks for sharing - - When she smiles.... Thanks for post...... Great piece, really moved.... thanks a lot...... it touched me in special places.....
    AGHH this point system has brought out the worst in people, as usual.
    I will google the title read the history of the poem, and reflect upon it, TRULY reflect upon it. Imagine if all the reviewers did this, than we could have a genuine discussion and we could all grow. Then, this point system would be of value. Stop with the BS people. Put your soul into a review or leave. I'm sorry but stop.
    (Report) Reply

  • Rose Kanana (4/2/2017 5:31:00 AM)


    Great piece thanks for sharing (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (4/2/2017 1:22:00 AM)


    When she smiles..... thanks for posting.... (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (4/2/2017 1:03:00 AM)


    Could love indeed the maid! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • (8/22/2006 3:28:00 PM)


    I start out my advanced ESL class by projecting a page from my Poetry Speaks day calendar for that day. For September 9 I find a biography of H.R., so I sought a short poem for the class to read. I found Helen, which couldn't be more apropos. The sentiment is very clear and set forth in imagery that is sharp, a signature of H.R. Helen won the hatred of the Greeks for past enchantments and past ills, and the Greeks could love her only if she were burned in a funeral pyre. Aaargg. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: daughter, beauty, god, love, hate, remember, smile



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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