By Hilda Doolittle

Whirl up, sea—
whirl your pointed pines,
splash your great pines
on our rocks,
hurl your green over us,
cover us with your pools of fir.

Summary of Oread

  • Popularity of “Oread”: This short and precise poem “Oread” by Hilda Doolittle, a prolific American writer, is a beautiful poem. The poem first appeared in 1915 when it was included in an anthology of imagist poetry. The anthology also included several other imagists of those times, including Ezra Pound. The poem presents how a nymph commands the sea, causing different situations. The beauty of the poem lies in its precision as well as its imagery.
  • “Oread” As a Representative of Call to Nature: Oread, the classical and mythical nymph, here calls the sea to whirl up and take the land into its fold. Her call is an intermingling of the water with the land or with the rock. This intermingling gives birth to different things, the exchange of which could prove fruitful though the nymph has not talked about that. She just asks the sea to whirl up, calling it “sea” and saying to cover the rocks, including her into “pools of fir.” This is a call of nature that the nymph is feeling thirsty for water as well as fir of the sea.
  • Major Themes in “Oread”: The call of nature, the desire to intermingle with nature, and meeting with nature are three major themes of the poem. Although the images demonstrate the different desires of the poet couched in pines, it also demonstrates that the poet is very much desirous of making nature intermingle before her eyes as she poses herself as a nymph. The other desire could be meeting with nature, but the images are very interesting in that they do not disclose the real intention of the poet in showing the sea splashing its great pines over rocks and covering it with pools of fir.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in Oread

Hilda Doolittle used various literary devices to enhance the intended impact of his poem. Some of the major literary devices are analyzed below.

  1. Allusion: It means to use references from society, history, or culture to stress the main idea. The poet used the allusion of a mythical creature in the title as “Oread.”
  2. Alliteration: It means to use initial consonants in successive words. The sonnet shows the use of consonant sounds, such as /p/ in “pointed pines.”
  3. Apostrophe: This literary device shows the use of a call to some dead person or some abstract idea. The poem shows the use of an apostrophe, such as “sea.”
  4. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /i/ in “whirl your pointed pines” and the sound of /o/ in “cover us with your pools of fir.”
  5. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /n/ in “whirl your pointed pines” and the sound of /r/ and /f/ in “cover us with your pools of fir.”
  6. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. Hilda Doolittle used imagery in this poem, such as “whirl your pointed pines”, “hurl your green over us” and “cover us with your pools of fir.”
  7. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between objects that are different in nature. The poet used the metaphor of the sea, showing that it could be a man.
  8. Personification: It means to attribute human emotions to inanimate objects. The poet used the personification of the sea as if it has its own life and emotions.
  9. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. The poem shows symbols, such as the sea, pines, rocks, and pools to show the domination of nature.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in Oread

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Diction: It means the type of language. The poem shows good use of formal and poetic diction.
  2. Free Verse: It means to use poetry without any rhyme scheme or metrical pattern. This short poem is a free verse poem.
  3. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. This is a single-stanza poem with six verses in total.
  4. Tone: It means the voice of the text. The sonnet shows a highly cryptic and mysterious tone.

Quotes to be Used

The following lines are useful to quote when talking about nature.

on our rocks,
hurl your green over us,
cover us with your pools of fir