H.D.’s Personal Negotiations In End To Torment

2468 words - 10 pages

This is not simply a severe case of "love is blind," however. As might be expected, End to Torment, operating as it does according to a dynamic of free-association and personal mythology, is a layered text. In attempting to unpack what Pound means to her, H.D. comes to the conclusion that she, and all of the artists who benefitted from Pound's kindness and guidance, owe him their gratitude and support when the entire world seemed in confederacy against him. She writes of "Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, Auden, Hemingway, and ... the gallant band that awarded him the rabidly contested or controverted Bollingen Prize in 1949, for the Pisan Cantos." In the next day's entry, April 13, she writes that "It seems that a great deal will be resurrected or re-born once Ezra is free. Consciously or unconsciously, it seems that we have been bound up with him, bound up with him and his fate" (ETT 37). The language here, "resurrected or re-born," amounts to a tacit acknowledgment of Ezra's crimes. Resurrected implies death, and as Pound was still alive and quite healthy, we might ponder that she was referring to the death of young Pound, snow on his beard in the pine trees. Alternatively, if this is the same Pound, he might be forgiven his sins and re-born. Here she has taken a pragmatic view on Ezra's legacy, that although his actions during the war may have been repugnant, he also gave H.D. her start, contributed heavily to The Wasteland, and helped dozens of other artists. As H.D. puts it, regarding several women artists Pound helped throughout his life, and in a passage which seems to identify herself with them, "It is only by admitting that Ezra is an old man, that I can say that I am an old woman. But this is not true. There are others. They go on painting pictures or they go on writing poetry" (ETT 42). Certainly H.D. still felt personally, poetically linked with Pound, as he argues in his article, "Seward: H.D.'s Helen in Egypt as a response to Pound's Cantos: "For H.D., Personally, Pound represented her simultaneous initiation into both love and poetry, which remained inextricable and mutualy motivating ... responding comprehensively to a sense of cultural crisis" (Waas 465). H.D. hints to this, or at least something more personal, writing, "Thinking Ezra's work, I recall my long Helen sequence. Perhaps, there was always a challenge in his creative power. Perhaps, even, as I said to ERich, there was unconscious -really unconscious - rivalry" (ETT 41).

Equally important to H.D.'s recollections of Pound is the recurrent image of the Child, referenced repeatedly in the text. An important interaction with Pound is his arrival at the hospital in which H.D. gave birth to her daughter Perdita in 1919. H.D. writes, "this was a grave crisis in my life. It was happening here. "But," he said, "my only real criticism is that this is not my child" (ETT 8). H.D. returns to this statement again later in the text, but here it becomes clear that the child she is...

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