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Are you alive?
I touch you.
You quiver like a sea-fish.
I cover you with my net.
What are you—banded one?
This short poem by modernist poet, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) is fascinating in how it raises questions and leaves them unanswered. The poem was published in 1915 and is an example of “imagism” – a form of poetry popular in the early 20th century.
From The Poetry Foundation:
An early 20th-century poetic movement that relied on the resonance of concrete images drawn in precise, colloquial language rather than traditional poetic diction and meter. T.E. Hulme, H.D., and William Carlos Williams were practitioners of the imagist principles as laid out by Ezra Pound in the March 1913 issue of Poetry (see “A Retrospect” and “A Few Don’ts”). Amy Lowell built a strain of imagism that used some of Pound’s principles and rejected others in her Preface to the 1916 anthology, Some Imagist Poets.
So what do we think H.D. found in the pool?