Read SHE CONTRASTS WITH HERSELF HIPPOLYTA of Hymen , free online book, by Hilda Doolittle, on

Can flame beget white steel ah no, it could not take within my reins its shelter; steel must seek steel, or hate make out of joy a whet-stone for a sword; sword against flint, Theseus sought Hippolyta; she yielded not nor broke, sword upon stone, from the clash leapt a spark, Hippolytus, born of hate.

What did she think when all her strength was twisted for his bearing; did it break, even within her sheltered heart, a song, some whispered note, distant and faint as this:

Love that I bear within my breast how is my armour melted how my heart: as an oak-tree that keeps beneath the snow, the young bark fresh till the spring cast from off its shoulders the white snow so does my armour melt.

Love that I bear within my heart, O speak; tell how beneath the serpent-spotted shell, the cygnets wait, how the soft owl opens and flicks with pride, eye-lids of great bird-eyes, when underneath its breast the owlets shrink and turn.

You have the power, (then did she say) Artemis, benignity to grant forgiveness that I gave no quarter to an enemy who cast his armour on the forest-moss, and took, unmatched in an uneven contest, Hippolyta who relented not, returned and sought no kiss.

Then did she pray: Artemis, grant that no flower be grafted alien on a broken stalk, no dark flame-laurel on the stricken crest of a wild mountain-poplar; grant in my thought, I never yield but wait, entreating cold white river, mountain-pool and salt: let all my veins be ice, until they break (strength of white beach, rock of mountain land, forever to you, Artemis, dedicate) from out my reins, those small, cold hands.