Study Guide

Sea Rose Sound Check

By H.D.

Sound Check

In some ways, this poem sounds quite a bit like the musings you might have as you walk down a beach on a quiet afternoon. The language is sparse. It's not too concerned with making nifty rhymes or dense rhythmical patterns. Nope, this poem reads like the voice in your head – one that's not at all considering an outside audience.

Look a little closer, though, and you'll see that H.D. is actually doing some fairly complex work with the sonic landscape of the poem. It's deceptively simple and natural-sounding, because she wants the reader to concentrate on the image of a sea-rose (and not the words that create that image). H.D. reinforces the sense that the entire poem is a gradual accumulation of images by allowing consonants and vowels to echo each other throughout.

For instance, the "i" in "drift" (line 8) reappears in "lifted" (line 11), "in" (line 12), "crisp" (also line 12), and "wind" (line 13). Notice how all of these words fit together into a description of how the rose is tossed around by the natural elements? Well, repeating a similar vowel sound helps to reinforce the connection between these descriptions. And that's just one example of her clever method of poetry writing. There's lots more – see if you can find them yourselves!