Study Guide

Oread Lines 5-6

By H.D.

Lines 5-6

Line 5

hurl your green over us, 

  • The Oread now refers to the sea as "green," and asks it to "hurl" itself over "us."
  • Hopefully this line raises some questions for you (it definitely raises some questions for Shmoop). 
  • Who is the "us"? Again, we can't answer this for sure, but we're thinking the "us" is more Oreads, or at least, more land creatures. 
  • And what's up with the word "hurl"? Isn't that kind of violent? Yup, it is indeed. The Oread isn't asking for the sea to peacefully lap against the shore. "Hurl" is a strong word. (And hey: did you notice that it rhymes with the earlier "whirls"?)
  • And finally, isn't the sea sounding a whole lot like the forest? It's got those great and pointed pines; it's green. Doesn't this sound more like a description of the forest, rather than a description of the sea? And hey, if the ocean is already like the land, why is the Oread so insistent that the ocean meet the land? 
  • These questions are really getting to the crux of the poem, if you want to know our opinion. And there's no one way to answer them. Let's see what our final line holds in store for us.

Line 6

cover us with your pools of fir. 

  • This metaphorical language continues here. The Oread finishes up her great command, asking the sea to "cover us" with its "pools of fir." 
  • The word "pools" is the first acknowledgment in the poem that the ocean is actually watery. So far, all we've heard about is the ocean's forest-ness 
  • So in the end, the Oread asks to be covered with fir. (As in pine trees, not dog fur.) This is a pretty intense image. The Oread commands the water to come all the way up the land to the forest, and to cover "us" (presumably, the other nymphs and land creatures) with water. 
  • Maybe the Oread's got a death wish. Maybe she's asking for the ocean to drown her.
  • Or, more likely, maybe the Oread is trying to break down barriers, to unite the different worlds of the sea and the land/forest. 
  • If this is indeed her goal, she's doing an awesome job in her language, which already points out the forest-like things about sea. 
  • In fact, her metaphorical language seems to suggest that her actual command is unnecessary. She has already united the sea and the forest through language, through her description of the sea. Who cares what the actual sea does; the Oread has it covered with her words. 
  • So it doesn't quite matter that the sea doesn't speak back to the Oread, or that we don't know if the sea ever actually reaches the piney forests on land. What we do know is that the Oread has already broken down the barriers of land and sea in her brain (and in our brains). She's created an image of a sea-land hybrid just through her words. 
  • Some critics go as far as suggesting that the whole poem is about language and consciousness and nothing else. Since it's written in her voice, and since our only description of the setting is through her language and mind, the whole poem is just an exploration of one nymph's consciousness. (Or so the critics say.) But wait a second—what do you think? 
  • Now that we've finished, we've just gotta say it: "Oread" rocks hard core, for just a 26-word poem.