“A girl” – a poem by Ezra Pound

The tree has entered my hands,
The sap has ascended my arms,
The tree has grown in my breast –
Downward,
The branches grow out of me, like arms.

Tree you are,
Moss you are,
You are violets with wind above them.
A child – so high – you are,
All this is folly to the world.

The poem is based upon the theme of the myth of Daphne and Apollo .Apollo the sun-god pursues the beautiful Daphne,the daughter of the river-god and Daphne is transformed into a tree in order for her to escape Apollo’s advances.

The first part is what Daphne speaks as she watches the process of her own transformation .The second part is Apollo witnessing the process.

I am struck by the way Apollo the sun god describes the transformation:

TREE YOU ARE/MOSS YOU ARE
Here the sun is merely identifying her as a tree and is recognizing her new identity as a tree with whom the sun god has a direct and intimate relationship with a role in its activities of photo-synthesis.

YOU ARE VIOLETS WITH WIND ABOVE THEM

A continuation of the perspective of the sun-god when he looks down benignly upon all the flowers being instrumental in their blooming , a view from the top at the smiling flowers with the wind gently playing with them.

A CHILD- SO HIGH -YOU ARE

Here Apollo the sun-god has viewed the transformation of Daphne from a mere human child to a tree which has grown so high

ALL THIS IS FOLLY TO THE WORLD

My guess is that Apollo is saying that this whole thing -the sun-god pursuing a girl may look like a folly to the world. The world is apparently not aware of the transformation that such a pursuit has brought about.

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