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Best Famous Ezra Pound Poems

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Written by Ezra Pound | Create an image from this poem


 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 | Create an image from this poem

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 | Create an image from this poem

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 | Create an image from this poem

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 | Create an image from this poem

Hugh Selwyn Mauberly (Part I)

 "Vocat aestus in umbram" 
Nemesianus Es.
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.
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.
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.
There died a myriad, And of the best, among them, For an old ***** 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.
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".
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
"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 | Create an image from this poem

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 | Create an image from this poem

A Virginal

 No, no! Go from me.
I have left her lately.
I will not spoil my sheath with lesser brightness, For my surrounding air hath a new lightness; Slight are her arms, yet they have bound me straitly And left me cloaked as with a gauze of æther; As with sweet leaves; as with subtle clearness.
Oh, I have picked up magic in her nearness To sheathe me half in half the things that sheathe her.
No, no! Go from me.
I have still the flavour, Soft as spring wind that's come from birchen bowers.
Green come the shoots, aye April in the branches, As winter's wound with her sleight hand she staunches, Hath of the trees a likeness of the savour: As white as their bark, so white this lady's hours.
Written by Dylan Thomas | Create an image from this poem

A Letter To My Aunt

 A Letter To My Aunt Discussing The Correct Approach To Modern Poetry

To you, my aunt, who would explore
The literary Chankley Bore,
The paths are hard, for you are not
A literary Hottentot
But just a kind and cultured dame
Who knows not Eliot (to her shame).
Fie on you, aunt, that you should see No genius in David G.
, No elemental form and sound In T.
and Ezra Pound.
Fie on you, aunt! I'll show you how To elevate your middle brow, And how to scale and see the sights From modernist Parnassian heights.
First buy a hat, no Paris model But one the Swiss wear when they yodel, A bowler thing with one or two Feathers to conceal the view; And then in sandals walk the street (All modern painters use their feet For painting, on their canvas strips, Their wives or mothers, minus hips).
Perhaps it would be best if you Created something very new, A dirty novel done in Erse Or written backwards in Welsh verse, Or paintings on the backs of vests, Or Sanskrit psalms on lepers' chests.
But if this proved imposs-i-ble Perhaps it would be just as well, For you could then write what you please, And modern verse is done with ease.
Do not forget that 'limpet' rhymes With 'strumpet' in these troubled times, And commas are the worst of crimes; Few understand the works of Cummings, And few James Joyce's mental slummings, And few young Auden's coded chatter; But then it is the few that matter.
Never be lucid, never state, If you would be regarded great, The simplest thought or sentiment, (For thought, we know, is decadent); Never omit such vital words As belly, genitals and -----, For these are things that play a part (And what a part) in all good art.
Remember this: each rose is wormy, And every lovely woman's germy; Remember this: that love depends On how the Gallic letter bends; Remember, too, that life is hell And even heaven has a smell Of putrefying angels who Make deadly whoopee in the blue.
These things remembered, what can stop A poet going to the top? A final word: before you start The convulsions of your art, Remove your brains, take out your heart; Minus these curses, you can be A genius like David G.
Take courage, aunt, and send your stuff To Geoffrey Grigson with my luff, And may I yet live to admire How well your poems light the fire.
Written by Gary Snyder | Create an image from this poem

Axe Handles

 One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head Without a handle, in the shop And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door Is long enough for a hatchet, We cut it to length and take it With the hatchet head And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle With the hatchet, and the phrase First learned from Ezra Pound Rings in my ears! "When making an axe handle the pattern is not far off.
" And I say this to Kai "Look: We'll shape the handle By checking the handle Of the axe we cut with—" And he sees.
And I hear it again: It's in Lu Ji's We Fu, fourth century A.
"Essay on Literature" - in the Preface: "In making the handle Of an axe By cutting wood with an axe The model is indeed near at hand.
" My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen Translated that and taught it years ago And I see: Pound was an axe, Chen was an axe, I am an axe And my son a handle, soon To be shaping again, model And tool, craft of culture, How we go on.
Written by Ezra Pound | Create an image from this poem

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!"