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Best Famous Ezra Pound Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Ezra Pound poems. This is a select list of the best famous Ezra Pound poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Ezra Pound poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Ezra Pound poems.

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Written by Ezra Pound |

Before Sleep

 I was in love with anatomy
the symmetry of my body
poised for flight,
the heights it would take
over parents, lovers, a keen
riding over truth and detail.
I thought growing up would be this rising from everything old and earthly, not these faltering steps out the door every day, then back again.

Written by Ezra Pound |

Masks

 These tales of old disguisings, are they not
Strange myths of souls that found themselves among
Unwonted folk that spake an hostile tongue,
Some soul from all the rest who'd not forgot
The star-span acres of a former lot
Where boundless mid the clouds his course he swung,
Or carnate with his elder brothers sung
Ere ballad-makers lisped of Camelot?

Old singers half-forgetful of their tunes,
Old painters color-blind come back once more,
Old poets skill-less in the wind-heart runes,
Old wizards lacking in their wonder-lore:

All they that with strange sadness in their eyes
Ponder in silence o'er earth's queynt devyse?

Written by Ezra Pound |

The Seafarer

 (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.

Written by Ezra Pound |

Tame Cat

 It rests me to be among beautiful women
Why should one always lie about such matters?
I repeat:
It rests me to converse with beautiful women
Even though we talk nothing but nonsense,

The purring of the invisible antennae
Is both stimulating and delightful.

Written by Ezra Pound |

Ballad for Gloom

 For God, our God is a gallant foe 
That playeth behind the veil.
I have loved my God as a child at heart That seeketh deep bosoms for rest, I have loved my God as a maid to man— But lo, this thing is best: To love your God as a gallant foe that plays behind the veil; To meet your God as the night winds meet beyond Arcturus' pale.
I have played with God for a woman, I have staked with my God for truth, I have lost to my God as a man, clear-eyed— His dice be not of ruth.
For I am made as a naked blade, But hear ye this thing in sooth: Who loseth to God as man to man Shall win at the turn of the game.
I have drawn my blade where the lightnings meet But the ending is the same: Who loseth to God as the sword blades lose Shall win at the end of the game.
For God, our God is a gallant foe that playeth behind the veil.
Whom God deigns not to overthrow hath need of triple mail.

Written by Ezra Pound |

Villanelle: The Psychological Hour

 I had over prepared the event,
that much was ominous.
With middle-ageing care I had laid out just the right books.
I had almost turned down the pages.
Beauty is so rare a thing.
So few drink of my fountain.
So much barren regret, So many hours wasted! And now I watch, from the window, the rain, the wandering busses.
"Their little cosmos is shaken" - the air is alive with that fact.
In their parts of the city they are played on by diverse forces.
How do I know? Oh, I know well enough.
For them there is something afoot.
As for me; I had over-prepared the event - Beauty is so rare a thing.
So few drink of my fountain.
Two friends: a breath of the forest.
.
.
Friends? Are people less friends because one has just, at last, found them? Twice they promised to come.
"Between the night and the morning?" Beauty would drink of my mind.
Youth would awhile forget my youth is gone from me.
(Speak up! You have danced so stiffly? Someone admired your works, And said so frankly.
"Did you talk like a fool, The first night? The second evening?" "But they promised again: 'To-morrow at tea-time'.
") Now the third day is here - no word from either; No word from her nor him, Only another man's note: "Dear Pound, I am leaving England.
"

Written by Ezra Pound |

Historion

 No man hath dared to write this thing as yet, 
And yet I know, how that the souls of all men great 
At times pass athrough us, 
And we are melted into them, and are not 
Save reflexions of their souls.
Thus am I Dante for a space and am One Francois Villon, ballad-lord and thief, Or am such holy ones I may not write Lest blasphemy be writ against my name; This for an instant and the flame is gone.
'Tis as in midmost us there glows a sphere Translucent, molten gold, that is the "I" And into this some form projects itself: Christus, or John, or eke the Florentine; And as the clear space is not if a form's Imposed thereon, So cease we from all being for the time, And these, the Masters of the Soul, live on.

Written by Ezra Pound |

Tsai Chih

 The petals fall in the fountain, 
the orange-coloured rose-leaves, 
Their ochre clings to the stone.

Written by Ezra Pound |

Sestina: Altaforte

 LOQUITUR: En Bertans de Born.
Dante Alighieri put this man in hell for that he was a stirrer up of strife.
Eccovi! Judge ye! Have I dug him up again? The scene is at his castle, Altaforte.
"Papiols" is his jongleur.
"The Leopard," the device of Richard Coeur de Lion.
I Damn it all! all this our South stinks peace.
You whoreson dog, Papiols, come! Let's to music! I have no life save when the swords clash.
But ah! when I see the standards gold, vair, purple, opposing And the broad fields beneath them turn crimson, Then howl I my heart nigh mad with rejoicing.
II In hot summer I have great rejoicing When the tempests kill the earth's foul peace, And the lightning from black heav'n flash crimson, And the fierce thunders roar me their music And the winds shriek through the clouds mad, opposing, And through all the riven skies God's swords clash.
III Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash! And the shrill neighs of destriers in battle rejoicing, Spiked breast to spiked breat opposing! Better one hour's stour than a year's peace With fat boards, bawds, wine and frail music! Bah! there's no wine like the blood's crimson! IV And I love to see the sun rise blood-crimson.
And I watch his spears through the dark clash And it fills all my heart with rejoicing And pries wide my mouth with fast music When I see him so scorn and defy peace, His long might 'gainst all darkness opposing.
V The man who fears war and squats opposing My words for stour, hath no blood of crimson But is fit only to rot in womanish peace Far from where worth's won and the swords clash For the death of such sluts I go rejoicing; Yea, I fill all the air with my music.
VI Papiols, Papiols, to the music! There's no sound like to swords swords opposing, No cry like the battle's rejoicing When our elbows and swords drip the crimson And our charges 'gainst "The Leopard's" rush clash.
May God damn for ever all who cry "Peace!" VII And let the music of the swords make them crimson! Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash! Hell blot black for always the thought "Peace!"

Written by Ezra Pound |

Ancient Music

 Winter is icummen in, 
Lhude sing Goddamm.
Raineth drop and staineth slop, And how the wind doth ramm! Sing: Goddamm.
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us, An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver, Damn you, sing: Goddamm.
Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm, So 'gainst the winter's balm.
Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm.
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.
A parody of the Anglo-Saxon poem, Cuckoo Song

Written by Ezra Pound |

Canto XIII

 Kung walked
 by the dynastic temple
and into the cedar grove,
 and then out by the lower river,
And with him Khieu Tchi
 and Tian the low speaking
And "we are unknown," said Kung,
"You will take up charioteering?
 "Then you will become known,
"Or perhaps I should take up charioterring, or archery?
"Or the practice of public speaking?"
And Tseu-lou said, "I would put the defences in order,"
And Khieu said, "If I were lord of a province
"I would put it in better order than this is.
" And Tchi said, "I would prefer a small mountain temple, "With order in the observances, with a suitable performance of the ritual," And Tian said, with his hand on the strings of his lute The low sounds continuing after his hand left the strings, And the sound went up like smoke, under the leaves, And he looked after the sound: "The old swimming hole, "And the boys flopping off the planks, "Or sitting in the underbrush playing mandolins.
" And Kung smiled upon all of them equally.
And Thseng-sie desired to know: "Which had answered correctly?" And Kung said, "They have all answered correctly, "That is to say, each in his nature.
" And Kung raised his cane against Yuan Jang, Yuan Jang being his elder, or Yuan Jang sat by the roadside pretending to be receiving wisdom.
And Kung said "You old fool, come out of it, "Get up and do something useful.
" And Kung said "Respect a child's faculties "From the moment it inhales the clear air, "But a man of fifty who knows nothing Is worthy of no respect.
" And "When the prince has gathered about him "All the savants and artists, his riches will be fully employed.
" And Kung said, and wrote on the bo leaves: If a man have not order within him He can not spread order about him; And if a man have not order within him His family will not act with due order; And if the prince have not order within him He can not put order in his dominions.
And Kung gave the words "order" and "brotherly deference" And said nothing of the "life after death.
" And he said "Anyone can run to excesses, "It is easy to shoot past the mark, "It is hard to stand firm in the middle.
" And they said: If a man commit murder Should his father protect him, and hide him? And Kung said: He should hide him.
And Kung gave his daughter to Kong-Tchang Although Kong-Tchang was in prison.
And he gave his niece to Nan-Young although Nan-Young was out of office.
And Kung said "Wan ruled with moderation, "In his day the State was well kept, "And even I can remember "A day when the historians left blanks in their writings, "I mean, for things they didn't know, "But that time seems to be passing.
A day when the historians left blanks in their writings, But that time seems to be passing.
" And Kung said, "Without character you will "be unable to play on that instrument "Or to execute the music fit for the Odes.
"The blossoms of the apricot "blow from the east to the west, "And I have tried to keep them from falling.
"

Written by Ezra Pound |

Hugh Selwyn Mauberly (Part I)

 "Vocat aestus in umbram" 
Nemesianus Es.
IV.
E.
P.
Ode pour l'élection de son sépulchre For three years, out of key with his time, He strove to resuscitate the dead art Of poetry; to maintain "the sublime" In the old sense.
Wrong from the start -- No, hardly, but, seeing he had been born In a half savage country, out of date; Bent resolutely on wringing lilies from the acorn; Capaneus; trout for factitious bait: "Idmen gar toi panth, os eni Troie Caught in the unstopped ear; Giving the rocks small lee-way The chopped seas held him, therefore, that year.
His true Penelope was Flaubert, He fished by obstinate isles; Observed the elegance of Circe's hair Rather than the mottoes on sun-dials.
Unaffected by "the march of events", He passed from men's memory in l'an trentiesme De son eage; the case presents No adjunct to the Muses' diadem.
II.
The age demanded an image Of its accelerated grimace, Something for the modern stage, Not, at any rate, an Attic grace; Not, not certainly, the obscure reveries Of the inward gaze; Better mendacities Than the classics in paraphrase! The "age demanded" chiefly a mould in plaster, Made with no loss of time, A prose kinema, not, not assuredly, alabaster Or the "sculpture" of rhyme.
III.
The tea-rose, tea-gown, etc.
Supplants the mousseline of Cos, The pianola "replaces" Sappho's barbitos.
Christ follows Dionysus, Phallic and ambrosial Made way for macerations; Caliban casts out Ariel.
All things are a flowing, Sage Heracleitus says; But a tawdry cheapness Shall reign throughout our days.
Even the Christian beauty Defects -- after Samothrace; We see to kalon Decreed in the market place.
Faun's flesh is not to us, Nor the saint's vision.
We have the press for wafer; Franchise for circumcision.
All men, in law, are equals.
Free of Peisistratus, We choose a knave or an eunuch To rule over us.
A bright Apollo, tin andra, tin eroa, tina theon, What god, man, or hero Shall I place a tin wreath upon? IV.
These fought, in any case, and some believing, pro domo, in any case .
.
Some quick to arm, some for adventure, some from fear of weakness, some from fear of censure, some for love of slaughter, in imagination, learning later .
.
.
some in fear, learning love of slaughter; Died some pro patria, non dulce non et decor" .
.
walked eye-deep in hell believing in old men's lies, then unbelieving came home, home to a lie, home to many deceits, home to old lies and new infamy; usury age-old and age-thick and liars in public places.
Daring as never before, wastage as never before.
Young blood and high blood, Fair cheeks, and fine bodies; fortitude as never before frankness as never before, disillusions as never told in the old days, hysterias, trench confessions, laughter out of dead bellies.
V.
There died a myriad, And of the best, among them, For an old bitch gone in the teeth, For a botched civilization.
Charm, smiling at the good mouth, Quick eyes gone under earth's lid, For two gross of broken statues, For a few thousand battered books.
Yeux Glauques Gladstone was still respected, When John Ruskin produced "Kings Treasuries"; Swinburne And Rossetti still abused.
Fœtid Buchanan lifted up his voice When that faun's head of hers Became a pastime for Painters and adulterers.
The Burne-Jones cartons Have preserved her eyes; Still, at the Tate, they teach Cophetua to rhapsodize; Thin like brook-water, With a vacant gaze.
The English Rubaiyat was still-born In those days.
The thin, clear gaze, the same Still darts out faun-like from the half-ruin'd face, Questing and passive .
.
.
.
"Ah, poor Jenny's case" .
.
.
Bewildered that a world Shows no surprise At her last maquero's Adulteries.
"Siena Mi Fe', Disfecemi Maremma" Among the pickled fœtuses and bottled bones, Engaged in perfecting the catalogue, I found the last scion of the Senatorial families of Strasbourg, Monsieur Verog.
For two hours he talked of Gallifet; Of Dowson; of the Rhymers' Club; Told me how Johnson (Lionel) died By falling from a high stool in a pub .
.
.
But showed no trace of alcohol At the autopsy, privately performed -- Tissue preserved -- the pure mind Arose toward Newman as the whiskey warmed.
Dowson found harlots cheaper than hotels; Headlam for uplift; Image impartially imbued With raptures for Bacchus, Terpsichore and the Church.
So spoke the author of "The Dorian Mood", M.
Verog, out of step with the decade, Detached from his contemporaries, Neglected by the young, Because of these reveries.
Brennbaum.
The sky-like limpid eyes, The circular infant's face, The stiffness from spats to collar Never relaxing into grace; The heavy memories of Horeb, Sinai and the forty years, Showed only when the daylight fell Level across the face Of Brennbaum "The Impeccable".
Mr.
Nixon In the cream gilded cabin of his steam yacht Mr.
Nixon advised me kindly, to advance with fewer Dangers of delay.
"Consider Carefully the reviewer.
"I was as poor as you are; "When I began I got, of course, "Advance on royalties, fifty at first", said Mr.
Nixon, "Follow me, and take a column, "Even if you have to work free.
"Butter reviewers.
From fifty to three hundred "I rose in eighteen months; "The hardest nut I had to crack "Was Dr.
Dundas.
"I never mentioned a man but with the view "Of selling my own works.
"The tip's a good one, as for literature "It gives no man a sinecure.
" And no one knows, at sight a masterpiece.
And give up verse, my boy, There's nothing in it.
" * * * Likewise a friend of Bloughram's once advised me: Don't kick against the pricks, Accept opinion.
The "Nineties" tried your game And died, there's nothing in it.
X.
Beneath the sagging roof The stylist has taken shelter, Unpaid, uncelebrated, At last from the world's welter Nature receives him, With a placid and uneducated mistress He exercises his talents And the soil meets his distress.
The haven from sophistications and contentions Leaks through its thatch; He offers succulent cooking; The door has a creaking latch.
XI.
"Conservatrix of Milésien" Habits of mind and feeling, Possibly.
But in Ealing With the most bank-clerkly of Englishmen? No, "Milésian" is an exaggeration.
No instinct has survived in her Older than those her grandmother Told her would fit her station.
XII.
"Daphne with her thighs in bark Stretches toward me her leafy hands", -- Subjectively.
In the stuffed-satin drawing-room I await The Lady Valentine's commands, Knowing my coat has never been Of precisely the fashion To stimulate, in her, A durable passion; Doubtful, somewhat, of the value Of well-gowned approbation Of literary effort, But never of The Lady Valentine's vocation: Poetry, her border of ideas, The edge, uncertain, but a means of blending With other strata Where the lower and higher have ending; A hook to catch the Lady Jane's attention, A modulation toward the theatre, Also, in the case of revolution, A possible friend and comforter.
* * * Conduct, on the other hand, the soul "Which the highest cultures have nourished" To Fleet St.
where Dr.
Johnson flourished; Beside this thoroughfare The sale of half-hose has Long since superseded the cultivation Of Pierian roses.

Written by Ezra Pound |

The Encounter

 All the while they were talking the new morality
Her eyes explored me.
And when I rose to go Her fingers were like the tissue Of a Japanese paper napkin.

Written by Ezra Pound |

Medallion

 Luini in porcelain! 
The grand piano 
Utters a profane 
Protest with her clear soprano.
The sleek head emerges From the gold-yellow frock As Anadyomene in the opening Pages of Reinach.
Honey-red, closing the face-oval, A basket-work of braids which seem as if they were Spun in King Minos' hall From metal, or intractable amber; The face-oval beneath the glaze, Bright in its suave bounding-line, as, Beneath half-watt rays, The eyes turn topaz.

Written by Ezra Pound |

Statement of Being

 I am a grave poetic hen
That lays poetic eggs
And to enhance my temperament
A little quiet begs.
We make the yolk philosophy, True beauty the albumen.
And then gum on a shell of form To make the screed sound human.