Set in a parallel world almost exactly to ours, the Fugitive Stag tells the story of what happens when history and myth become embodied in a single form, that is both goddess and woman … something more than a Muse or Platonic Mistress … someone altogether new.
… and Zarathustra again alone … heard behind him a new voice which called out: “Stay! Zarathustra! Do wait! It is myself, O Zarathustra, myself, your shadow!” But Zarathustra did not wait … “Where has my lonesomeness gone?” spoke he.
My shadow calls me? What matter about my shadow! Let it run after me! I- run away from it.”
Thus spoke Zarathustra to his heart and ran away. But the one behind followed after him … (Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ – LXIX).
The struggle against is as valiant as the struggle for; the difference lies in the fact that the one who struggles against has his back to the light. He is fighting his own shadow. It is only when this shadow exhausts him, when finally he falls prostrate, that the light which sweeps over him can reveal to him the splendours which he had mistaken for phantoms.
From Henry Miller’s ‘The Time of the Assassins’ (1946)
H.D. believed passionately that Beauty and Goodness belonged together and declared that the world will not be sustained, will not exist, without that classic ancient Beauty. She extended the reach of her symbol to a definition that is central to her concept of art: “Beauty, among other things, is reality…Beauty brings a curse, a blessing, a responsibility.”
She also believed in the sacred responsibility appropriate to the artist within the new film medium of her day.
The accurate presentation of Beauty is a sacred trust; a “silver goddess” image, for example, could function as an eidolon, a mystical evocation of deeper meanings, an inner reality, the “something beyond something.”
That sacred responsibility applied to film-maker as to poet. In Trilogy, H.D. affirms the sacred role of the poet, insisting that the “scribe” must have “protection” – he takes precedence of the priest, stands second only to the Pharaoh.
For H.D. both the art of poetry and the art of film were responsible for the evocation of deeper truths. She believed, as did the Romantic poets, that the gifted artist, said to be “inspired by the muse”, has a conduit to the divine, which takes form to human senses in the beautiful work of art. In Trilogy, her poetics shapes the symbolic presences of a mother-goddess and feminine Holy Spirit who emanates poetry’s spiritual power – the power of words in themselves – to bring resurrection and peace to a devastated world.