Study Guide

Sea Rose Stanza 2

By H.D.

Stanza 2

Lines 5-7

more precious
than a wet rose
single on a stem

  • As it turns out, our speaker values the strangeness of this rose even more that she values the "traditional" prettiness of long-stemmed roses.
  • Why? Well, that's a good question. After all, this is the first value statement that we've gotten in this poem. We read loads and loads of description (OK, like 4 lines) before we even hear a word about how the speaker feels about this rose.
  • We're guessing that H.D. wants us to build up a strong image of the rose in our own minds before she tells us how it differs from (or is better than) all those roses that you see in the supermarket.

Line 8

you are caught in the drift.

  • Now that our speaker's gone through a description of the rose itself, she pans out to look at the ways that the rose exists in its environment.
  • You could think of this as the last few frames of a movie – you know, the kind that starts with a close-up of lovers in Central Park and then backs off to show all of NYC while playing sappy, happy music.
  • As we start to observe the rose in its environment, though, things unfortunately don't get any happier.
  • For one thing, the rose can't seem to do anything to change its environment. It's stuck in the drift – that small strip of beach right between the water and the sand.
  • If you know anything about the ocean, you've probably already spotted some problems with this particular location: it's not a very stable place to be. It's constantly moving with the tide.