Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ezra Pound

CANTO LXXXI

Zeus lies in Ceres’ bosom
Taishan is attended of loves
under Cythera, before sunrise
And he said: “Hay aquí mucho catolicismo—(sounded
catolithismo
y muy poco reliHion.”
and he said: “Yo creo que los reyes desparecen”
(Kings will, I think, disappear)
This was Padre José Elizondo
in 1906 and in 1917
or about 1917
and Dolores said: “Come pan, niño,” eat bread, me lad
Sargent had painted her
before he descended
(i.e. if he descended
but in those days he did thumb sketches,
impressions of the Velázquez in the Museo del Prado
and books cost a peseta,
brass candlesticks in proportion,
hot wind came from the marshes
and death-chill from the mountains.
And later Bowers wrote: “but such hatred,
I have never conceived such”
and the London reds wouldn’t show up his friends
(i.e. friends of Franco
working in London) and in Alcázar
forty years gone, they said: go back to the station to eat
you can sleep here for a peseta”
goat bells tinkled all night
and the hostess grinned: Eso es luto, haw!
mi marido es muerto
(it is mourning, my husband is dead)[...]





This is a canto from Pound's Pisan Cantos, written while detained in an outdoor cage on the plains outside of Pisa, Italy. In what way is this concealed and unconcealed? In what way is this declaration and image coupled with the indecipherable or impenetrable personal as well as historical? How much do we need to know, and how does that affect the judgment of the Canto as good art?

(As a note, the blog obliterated Pound's indentations, which add a lot to the poem. Sorry for that.)

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