Hilda Doolittle





Prayer

White, O white face— 
from disenchanted days 
wither alike dark rose 
and fiery bays:
no gift within our hands,
nor strength to praise,
only defeat and silence;
though we lift hands, disenchanted, 
of small strength, nor raise
branch of the laurel
or the light of torch,
but fold the garment
on the riven locks, 
yet hear, all-merciful, and touch
the fore-head, dim, unlit of pride and thought, 
Mistress–be near!

Give back the glamour to our will, 
the thought; give back the tool, 
the chisel; once we wrought 
things not unworthy,
sandal and steel-clasp;
silver and steel, the coat
with white leaf-pattern
at the arm and throat:
silver and metal, hammered for the ridge 
of shield and helmet-rim;
white silver with the darker hammered in,
belt, staff and magic spear-shaft
with the gilt spark at the point and hilt.