Tuesday Poem.

The best artists ignore the ideology of the age. Pound has been unpersoned, silenced, and damned because he supported the Fascists and hated the communists by our Gramscian academy. Gramsci was a communist, and the hatred of their ideological enemies is entrained among such. Pound fought back, lost, and then was left bereft in an asylum. But he was a brilliant poet. The very fact he is not aligned with the spirit of the modern university is a reason to read him.

Ezra Pound, 1940. Poetry Foundation.

The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter

After Li Po

While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead

I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.

You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,

You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.

And we went on living in the village of Chōkan:

Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.

At fourteen I married My Lord you.

I never laughed, being bashful.

Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.

Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,

I desired my dust to be mingled with yours

Forever and forever, and forever.

Why should I climb the look out?

At sixteen you departed

You went into far Ku-tō-en, by the river of swirling eddies,

And you have been gone five months.

The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.

You dragged your feet when you went out.

By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,

Too deep to clear them away!

The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.

The paired butterflies are already yellow with August

Over the grass in the West garden;

They hurt me.

I grow older.

If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,

Please let me know beforehand,

And I will come out to meet you

As far as Chō-fū-Sa.

Ezra Pound, Collected Poems, 1957.

Pound translated Chinese poetry from a translation (he did not read or speak Mandarin). His translations are inaccurate. But that misses the point. His poems stand alone, reflecting the source, but not of it. He is an early modernist, and the numinous light of Christendom still remained. It took two world wars and five generations of progressive technocrats to dim it, and make us despair with Li Po.