Monday, June 4, 2012

"And all this is folly to the world" - A Girl

Ezra Pound Poems

The Garden by Ezra Pound

En robe de parade.

Like a skien of loose silk blown against a wall
She walks by the railing of a path in
Kensington Gardens,
And she is dying piece-meal
of a sort of emotional anaemia.

And round about there is a rabble
Of the filthy, sturdy, unkillable infants of the very poor.
They shall inherit the earth.

In her is the end of breeding.
Her boredom is exquisite and excessive.
She would like some one to speak to her,
And is almost afraid that I
will commit that indiscretion

The Seafarer by Ezra Pound
(From the early Anglo-Saxon text) 

May I for my own self song's truth reckon,
Journey's jargon, how I in harsh days
Hardship endured oft.
Bitter breast-cares have I abided,
Known on my keel many a care's hold,
And dire sea-surge, and there I oft spent
Narrow nightwatch nigh the ship's head
While she tossed close to cliffs. Coldly afflicted,
My feet were by frost benumbed.
Chill its chains are; chafing sighs
Hew my heart round and hunger begot
Mere-weary mood. Lest man know not
That he on dry land loveliest liveth,
List how I, care-wretched, on ice-cold sea,
Weathered the winter, wretched outcast
Deprived of my kinsmen;
Hung with hard ice-flakes, where hail-scur flew,
There I heard naught save the harsh sea
And ice-cold wave, at whiles the swan cries,
Did for my games the gannet's clamour,
Sea-fowls, loudness was for me laughter,
The mews' singing all my mead-drink.
Storms, on the stone-cliffs beaten, fell on the stern
In icy feathers; full oft the eagle screamed
With spray on his pinion.
Not any protector
May make merry man faring needy.
This he little believes, who aye in winsome life
Abides 'mid burghers some heavy business,
Wealthy and wine-flushed, how I weary oft
Must bide above brine.
Neareth nightshade, snoweth from north,
Frost froze the land, hail fell on earth then
Corn of the coldest. Nathless there knocketh now
The heart's thought that I on high streams
The salt-wavy tumult traverse alone.
Moaneth alway my mind's lust
That I fare forth, that I afar hence
Seek out a foreign fastness.
For this there's no mood-lofty man over earth's midst,
Not though he be given his good, but will have in his youth greed;
Nor his deed to the daring, nor his king to the faithful
But shall have his sorrow for sea-fare
Whatever his lord will.
He hath not heart for harping, nor in ring-having
Nor winsomeness to wife, nor world's delight
Nor any whit else save the wave's slash,
Yet longing comes upon him to fare forth on the water.
Bosque taketh blossom, cometh beauty of berries,
Fields to fairness, land fares brisker,
All this admonisheth man eager of mood,
The heart turns to travel so that he then thinks
On flood-ways to be far departing.
Cuckoo calleth with gloomy crying,
He singeth summerward, bodeth sorrow,
The bitter heart's blood. Burgher knows not --
He the prosperous man -- what some perform
Where wandering them widest draweth.
So that but now my heart burst from my breast-lock,
My mood 'mid the mere-flood,
Over the whale's acre, would wander wide.
On earth's shelter cometh oft to me,
Eager and ready, the crying lone-flyer,
Whets for the whale-path the heart irresistibly,
O'er tracks of ocean; seeing that anyhow
My lord deems to me this dead life
On loan and on land, I believe not
That any earth-weal eternal standeth
Save there be somewhat calamitous
That, ere a man's tide go, turn it to twain.
Disease or oldness or sword-hate
Beats out the breath from doom-gripped body.
And for this, every earl whatever, for those speaking after --
Laud of the living, boasteth some last word,
That he will work ere he pass onward,
Frame on the fair earth 'gainst foes his malice,
Daring ado, ...
So that all men shall honour him after
And his laud beyond them remain 'mid the English,
Aye, for ever, a lasting life's-blast,
Delight mid the doughty.
Days little durable,
And all arrogance of earthen riches,
There come now no kings nor Cæsars
Nor gold-giving lords like those gone.
Howe'er in mirth most magnified,
Whoe'er lived in life most lordliest,
Drear all this excellence, delights undurable!
Waneth the watch, but the world holdeth.
Tomb hideth trouble. The blade is layed low.
Earthly glory ageth and seareth.
No man at all going the earth's gait,
But age fares against him, his face paleth,
Grey-haired he groaneth, knows gone companions,
Lordly men are to earth o'ergiven,
Nor may he then the flesh-cover, whose life ceaseth,
Nor eat the sweet nor feel the sorry,
Nor stir hand nor think in mid heart,
And though he strew the grave with gold,
His born brothers, their buried bodies
Be an unlikely treasure hoard.

Canto I

And then went down to the ship,
Set keel to breakers, forth on the godly sea, and
We set up mast and sail on tha swart ship,
Bore sheep aboard her, and our bodies also 
Heavy with weeping, so winds from sternward
Bore us out onward with bellying canvas,
Circe's this craft, the trim-coifed goddess.
Then sat we amidships, wind jamming the tiller,
Thus with stretched sail, we went over sea till day's end.
Sun to his slumber, shadows o'er all the ocean,
Came we then to the bounds of deepest water,
To the Kimmerian lands, and peopled cities
Covered with close-webbed mist, unpierced ever
With glitter of sun-rays
Nor with stars stretched, nor looking back from heaven
Swartest night stretched over wretched men there.
The ocean flowing backward, came we then to the place
Aforesaid by Circe.
Here did they rites, Perimedes and Eurylochus,
And drawing sword from my hip
I dug the ell-square pitkin;
Poured we libations unto each the dead,
First mead and then sweet wine, water mixed with white flour.
Then prayed I many a prayer to the sickly death's-head;
As set in Ithaca, sterile bulls of the best
For sacrifice, heaping the pyre with goods,
A sheep to Tiresias only, black and a bell-sheep.
Dark blood flowed in the fosse,
Souls out of Erebus, cadaverous dead, of brides
Of youths and at the old who had borne much;
Souls stained with recent tears, girls tender,
Men many, mauled with bronze lance heads,
Battle spoil, bearing yet dreory arms,
These many crowded about me; with shouting,
Pallor upon me, cried to my men for more beasts;
Slaughtered the heards, sheep slain of bronze;
Poured ointment, cried to the gods,
To Pluto the strong, and praised Proserpine;
Unsheathed the narrow sword,
I sat to keep off the impetuous impotent dead,
Till I should hear Tiresias.
But first Elpenor came, our friend Elpenor,
Unburied, cast on the wide earth,
Limbs that we left in the house of Circe,
Unwept, unwrapped in sepulchre, since toils urged other.
Pitiful spirit.And I cried in hurried speech:
"Elpenor, how art thou come to this dark coast?
Cam'st thou afoot, outstripping seamen?"

And he in heavy speech:
"Ill fate and abundant wine. I slept in Circe's ingle.
Going down the long ladder unguarded,
I fell against the buttress,
Shattered the nape-nerve, the soul sought Avernus.
But thou, O King, I bid remember me, unwept, unburied,
Heap up mine arms, be tomb by sea-bord, and inscribed:
A man of no fortune, and with a name to come.
And set my oar up, that I swung mid fellows."

And Anticlea came, whom I beat off, and then Tiresias Theban,
Holding his golden wand, knew me, and spoke first:
"A second time? why? man of ill star,
Facing the sunless dead and this joyless region?
Stand from the fosse, leave me my bloody bever
For soothsay."
And I stepped back,
And he stong with the blood, said then: "Odysseus
Shalt return through spiteful
Neptune, over dark seas,
Lose all companions." And then Anticlea came.
Lie quiet Divus. I mean, that is Andreas Divus,
In officina Wecheli, 1538, out of Homer.
And he sailed, by Sirens and thence outward and away
And unto Circe.
In the Creatan's phrase, with the golden crown, Aphrodite,
Cypri munimenta sortita est, mirthful, orichalchi, with golden
Girdles and breast bands, thou with dark eyelids
Bearing the golden bough of Argicida. So that: 
Ezra Pound

A Girl

The tree has entered my hands,
The sap has ascended my arms,
The tree has grown in my breast -
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,
And all this is folly to the world. 
Ezra Pound


1 am homesick after mine own kind,
Oh I know that there are folk about me, friendly faces,
But I am homesick after mine own kind.

'These sell our pictures'! Oh well,
They reach me not, touch me some edge or that,
But reach me not and all my life's become
One flame, that reaches not beyond
My heart's own hearth,
Or hides among the ashes there for thee.
Thee'? Oh, 'Thee' is who cometh first
Out of mine own soul-kin,
For I am homesick after mine own kind
And ordinary people touch me not.
And I am homesick
After mine own kind that know, and feel
And have some breath for beauty and the arts.

Aye, I am wistful for my kin of the spirit
And have none about me save in the shadows
When come they, surging of power, 'DAEMON,'
'Quasi KALOUN.' S.T. says Beauty is most that, a
'calling to the soul'.
Well then, so call they, the swirlers out of the mist of my soul,
They that come mewards, bearing old magic.

But for all that, I am homesick after mine own kind
And would meet kindred even as I am,
Flesh-shrouded bearing the secret.
'All they that with strange sadness'
Have the earth in mockery, and are kind to all,
My fellows, aye I know the glory
Of th' unbounded ones, but ye, that hide
As I hide most the while
And burst forth to the windows only whiles or whiles
For love, or hope or beauty or for power,
Then smoulder, with the lids half closed
And are untouched by echoes of the world.

Oh ye, my fellows: with the seas between us some be,
Purple and sapphire for the silver shafts
Of sun and spray all shattered at the bows;
And some the hills hold off,
The little hills to east of us, though here we
Have damp and plain to be our shutting in.

And yet my soul sings ‘Up!' and we are one.
Yea thou, and Thou, and THOU, and all my kin
To whom my breast and arms are ever warm,
For that I love ye as the wind the trees
That holds their blossoms and their leaves in cure
And calls the utmost singing from the boughs
That Hhout him, save the aspen, were as dumb
Still shade, and bade no whisper speak the birds of how
'Beyond, beyond, beyond, there lies . . .' 
Ezra Pound

In Tempore Senectutis

When I am old
I will not have you look apart
From me, into the cold,
Friend of my heart,
Nor be sad in your remembrance
Of the careless, mad-heart semblance
That the wind hath blown away
When I am old.

When I am old
And the white hot wonder-fire
Unto the world seem cold,
My soul's desire
Know you then that all life's shower,
The rain of the years, that hour
Shall make blow for us one flower,
Including all, when we are old.

When I am old
If you remember
Any love save what is then
Hearth light unto life's December
Be your joy of past sweet chalices
To know then naught but this
"How many wonders are less sweet
Than love I bear to thee
When I am old." 
Ezra Pound

Alf’s Twelfth Bit


Sez the Times a silver lining
Is what has set us pining,
Montague, Montague!

In the season sad and weary
When our minds are very bleary,
Montague, Montague!

There is Sir Hen. Deterding
His phrases interlarding,
Montague, Montague!

With the this and that and what
For putting silver on the spot,
Montague, Montague!

Just drop it in the slot
And it will surely boil the pot,
Montague, Montague!

Gold, of course, is solid too,
But some silver set to stew
Might do, too. Montague!
With a lively wood-pulp ‘ad’.

To cheer the bad and sad,
Montague, Montague! 
Ezra Pound

And the days are not full enough

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
      Not shaking the grass 
Ezra Pound

Song Of The Six Hundred M.P.'S

‘We are 'ere met together
in this momentous hower,
Ter lick th' bankers' dirty boots
an' keep the Bank in power.’

We are 'ere met together
ter grind the same old axes
And keep the people in its place
a'payin' us the taxes.

We are six hundred beefy men
(but mostly gas and suet)
An’ every year we meet to let
some other feller do it.'

I see their 'igh 'ats on the seats
an' them sprawling on the benches
And thinks about a Rowton 'ouse
and a lot of small street stenches.

'O Britain, muvver of parliaments,
'ave you seen yer larst sweet litter?
Could yeh swap th' brains of orl this lot
fer 'arft a pint o' bitter?'

‘Phasellus Ille’

1 his papier-mâché, which you see, my friends,
Saith 'twas the worthiest of editors.
Its mind was made up in 'the seventies',
Nor hath it ever since changed that concoction.
It works to represent that school of thought
Which brought the hair-cloth chair to such perfection,
Nor will the horrid threats of Bernard Shaw
Shake up the stagnant pool of its convictions;
Nay, should the deathless voice of all the world
Speak once again for its sole stimulation,
Twould not move it one jot from left to right.

Come Beauty barefoot from the
She'd find a model for St. Anthony
In this thing's sure decorum and behaviour. 
Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound in 1958 at William Carlos Williams' house

Pound by Wyndham Lewis, 1939

Ezra Pound reading CANTO XLV

Analysis of "The Seafarer" by Ezra Pound

Before Ezra Pound wrote his “The Seafarer,” a poem with the same name was written, serving as one of the four surviving manuscripts of Old English Poetry. This poem is about a seafarer expresses his sadness over the lonely lifestyle of a sailor while out at sea. Ezra Pound’s poem seems to be his own modern version of the very same poem; his begins with a disclaimer in parentheses that reads “From the early Anglo-Saxon text.” “The Seafarer” by Ezra Pound is told from the point of view of a seafarer, who evaluates his life while chronicling the desolate hardships he has faced on the cold sea and describes his anxious feelings and evaluating his life as he has lived it. The seafarer communicates the anxious feelings and the solitude of life on the wintry sea in relation to the more tempered life lived by those on land.
            Pound’s interpretation of the Old English poem was first published in 1911, and then again in Ripostes in 1912. Notable elements of the poem are frequent alliteration, old English diction, and themes of life, death, and struggle. The seafarer expresses his despair and isolation at being out at sea, which is cold and eerie – “Coldly afflicted,/ My feet were by frost benumbed./ Chill its chains are; chafing sighs/ Hew my heart round and hunger begot./ Mere-weary mood.” In this passage we see the alliteration, which runs frequently throughout the poem about every 5 lines, and the way in which the seafarer has been beaten down by the extreme and taxing nature of the sea.
Talking about himself, the seafarer compares his state to that of the people on land. Others who are not in his situation are “on dry land loveliest liveth” and act ignorantly to how much worse off the seafarers are. They “weathered the winter” and are “deprived of [their] kinsmen.” The use of the word “kinsmen” here by Pound is similar to the usage of the word in another of Pound’s poem titled “In Durance.” In that poem, Pound repeats the line “I am homesick after mine own kind” and uses the word “kin” to describe people he sees as similar to him, or perhaps just the speaker, though he somewhat explicitly writes that he is homesick for his own kind that “have some breath for beauty and the arts.” Because “In Durance” was also one of Ezra Pound’s early poems, it is possible that Pound was referencing his other poem when writing that the seafarer was deprived of his kinsmen.
Throughout the middle of the poem, there is frequent imagery of a ship stuck in a stormy, cold sea and the way that the speaker sees life as filled with death and dreariness – “My lord deems to me this dead life/ On loan and on land.” The speaker then begins to talk about wealth and rich men, and how although during their lifetime they may be powerful and influential, when they die their wealth cannot aid their state of lifelessness. When rich men die of disease, they make promises in their last word so that “all men shall honour him after.” However, when they finally go to rest in their tomb, all of the gold strewn around their bodies doesn’t make them any less dead. This segment at the end seems to be a thought that the seafarer might be using to make him feel better about his own state of being and, make him realize that even though he may be out at sea and separate from his kin, he is still filled with life, unlike some of the great men of history who have to lay dead in their lavish tombs. 

Comparison of Ezra Pound’s “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” to T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

T.S. Eliot’s “Prufrock” was written between 1910 and 1911, while Ezra Pound’s “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” was written afterwards in 1920. Ezra Pound actually helped Eliot’s poem get published after he saw Eliot’s ability in the June 1915 issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, marking the first time that Eliot had been published. Although Pound’s career had been going on for about 10 years at the time that Mauberley was published, Pound’s poem is considered a turning point in his career.
The first section of Mauberly is concerned with a poet who finds his life to have lost significance and is considered to be autobiographical. The poem seems to express Pound’s shock at the horrors of World War I and has themes of despair and materialism. Through the third person, Pound criticizes his past works as having the sole goal of gaining fame and recognition, but then shifts the focus to his defense. Eliot’s poem is written in the first person, and uses the character of Prufrock, which Pound likely thought of when titling his poem with a similar name. Prufrock is also characteristic of stream of consciousness, and presents themes of frustration, embarrassment, and decay.
Eliot’s “Prufrock” and Pound’s “Mauberley” are similar in that they are both representative of modernist poetry. Together, Eliot and Pound were two significant figures in the advancement of the modernist movement, and they both lived in England around the early 1900s and 1920s. Eliot’s poem begins with an excerpt from Dante’s “Inferno,” written in Latin, which, when translated, has the message of not being fearful of embarrassment. Pound’s “Mauberley” also uses samples from other languages, including a line from the song of Homer’s Sirens in Greek and a quoted epigraph in French signed at the bottom by Caid Ali, which might be a persona that Pound, or Mauberley, is using. In the first part of Mauberley Pound describes his outrage at World War I – “There died a myriad/And of the best, among them,/For an old bitch gone in the teeth,/For a botched civilization.” “Prufrock” has a similar sense of despair and negativity in the first stanza “restless nights in one-night cheap hotels /And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells…Of insidious intent,” showing the dreariness of Prufrock’s surroundings. Later in the poem, Prufrock seems to be debating internally about talking to a woman – “And indeed there will be time /To wonder, ‘Do I dare?’ and, ‘Do I dare?’” and worrying about the possible embarrassment.
The second part of “Mauberley” begins in the third person and describes what Mauberley is thinking through clever analogy – “Unable in the supervening blankness/To sift TO AGATHON from the chaff/Until he found his seive.../ Ultimately, his seismograph.” Although both Ezra Pound’s poem and T.S. Eliot’s poem have been found to have some sort of message, this message is nearly impossible to discern by just a close reading. Because Eliot uses stream of consciousness, it is difficult to determine if something is meant to be interpreted literally or symbolically. It might be said that these poems, similar in their style and the eclectic nature of their stanzas, should be read as if all of the descriptions are unconnected symbols, which together could be interpreted to produce some sort of feeling – decay or angst – that might then be felt by the character – J. Alfred Prufrock and Hugh Selwyn Mauberley.