Who is the speaker, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?
Well, for starters, our speaker is addressing a flower. This could mean a few things:
- She's a loner. After all, if you feel like you have to start chatting up plants, chances are that you don't have all that much company. In the spectrum of craziness, folks who talk to flowers probably rank below those people who hold long, involved conversations with their fish. At least fish blink every now and then.
- She's pretty observant. Spotting a rose on the beach and determining exactly how its environment has shaped its appearance requires a decent dose of imagination – and a good eye for the ecological consequences of certain environmental stresses.
She's a…woman? You probably noticed that we immediately called our speaker a "she." We know, we know – we're being a bit tricky. We do
think that our speaker is probably a woman, though. For one thing, H.D. is a woman. And the extremely personal tone of the poem makes it rather easy to assume that the speaker resembles the poet in significant ways.
Even without knowing H.D.'s gender, however, it makes sense to assume that it might be easier for a woman to recognize the subversive potential of a rose that doesn't conform to stereotypes. After all, people (and poets) have been comparing women to beautiful flowers ever since poetry came into being. Our speaker seems to have internalized all of these conventional descriptions – which is why her description of the sea rose is able to break free from convention at nearly every turn.