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Poetry

Canto V.

With modern poets you can’t quote the entirety of their work. Pound is one such: although he’s difficult, obscure, deeply unfashionable, he is worthwhile. He is writing of an impending doom. Driven by desire being valued more than duty. Here is the beginning, go read the rest.

Not if you read your Pound.

Canto V

Great bulk, huge mass, thesaurus;

Ecbatan, the block ticks and fades out;

The bride awaiting the god’s touch;

Ecbatan, City of patterned streets; again the vision:

Down in the viae stradae, toga’d the crowd, and arm’d

Rushing on populous buriness, and from parapets

Looked down—at North

Was Egypt, and the celestial Nile, blue-deep

cutting low barren lands,

Old men and camels working the water-wheels;

Measureless seas and stars,

Iamblichus’ light, the souls ascending,

Sparks like a partridge covey,

Like the “ciocco,” brand struck in the game.

“Et omniformis”:

Air, fire, the pale soft light.

Topaz, I manage, and three sorts of blue;

but on the barb of time.

The fire? always, and the vision always,

Ear dull, perhaps, with the vision, flitting

And fading at will.

Weaving with points of gold, Gold-yellow, saffron . . .

The roman show, Aurunculeia’s,

In maze of approaching rain-steps,

Poicebot— The air was full of women.

And Savairic Mauleon

Gave him his land and knight’s fee, and he wed the woman.

Came lust of travel on him, or romerya; and out of

England a knight with slow-lifting eyelids

Lei fassar furar a del, put glamour upon her . . .

And left her an eight months gone.

“Came lust of woman upon him,”

Poicebot, now on North road from Spain

(Sea-change, a grey in the water)

And in small house by town’s edge

Found a woman, changed and familiar face;

Hard night, and parting at morning.

Ezra Pound.