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,
For 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 nothng
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.”
Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
and how the wind doth ramm,
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.
En robe de parade.
Like a skien of loose silk blown against a wall
She walks by the railing of a path in Kensington Gardens,
And she is dying piece-meal
of a sort of emotional anaemia.
And round about there is a rabble
Of the filthy, sturdy, unkillable infants of the very poor.
They shall inherit the earth.
In her is the end of breeding.
Her boredom is exquisite and excessive.
She would like some one to speak to her,
And is almost afraid that I
will commit that indiscretion.
The small dogs look at the big dogs;
They observe unwieldy dimensions
And curious imperfections of odor.
Here is the formal male group:
The young men look upon their seniors,
They consider the elderly mind
And observe its inexplicable correlations.
It is only in small dogs and the young
That we find minute observation
You came in out of the night
And there were flowers in your hand,
Now you will come out of a confusion of people,
Out of a turmoil of speech about you.
I who have seen you amid the primal things
Was angry when they spoke your name
IN ordinary places.
I would that the cool waves might flow over my mind,
And that the world should dry as a dead leaf,
Or as a dandelion see-pod and be swept away,
So that I might find you again,
See, they return; ah, see the tentative
Movements, and the slow feet,
The trouble in the pace and the uncertain
See, they return, one, and by one,
With fear, as half-awakened;
As if the snow should hesitate
And murmur in the wind,
and half turn back;
These were the “Wing’d-with-Awe,”
Gods of the wingèd shoe!
With them the silver hounds,
sniffing the trace of air!
These were the swift to harry;
These the keen-scented;
These were the souls of blood.
Slow on the leash,
pallid the leash-men!
I make a pact with you, Walt Whitman—
I have detested you long enough.
I come to you as a grown child
Who has had a pig-headed father;
I am old enough now to make friends.
It was you that broke the new wood
Now is a time for carving.
We have one sap and one root—
Let there be commerce between us.
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.
O Chansons foregoing
You were a seven days’ wonder.
When you came out in the magazines
You created considerable stir in Chicago,
And now you are stale and worn out,
You’re a very depleted fashion,
A hoop-skirt, a calash,
An homely, transient antiquity.
Only emotion remains.
Are those of a maitre-de-cafe.
And then went down to the ship,
Set keel to breakers, forth on the godly sea, and
We set up mast and sail on that swart ship,
Bore sheep aboard her, and our bodies also
Heavy with weeping, and winds from sternward
Bore us onward with bellying canvas,
Crice’s this craft, the trim-coifed goddess.
Then sat we amidships, wind jamming the tiller,
Thus with stretched sail, we went over sea till day’s end.
Sun to his slumber, shadows o’er all the ocean,
Came we then to the bounds of deepest water,
To the Kimmerian lands, and peopled cities
Covered with close-webbed mist, unpierced ever
With glitter of sun-rays
Nor with stars stretched, nor looking back from heaven
Swartest night stretched over wreteched men there.
The ocean flowing backward, came we then to the place
Aforesaid by Circe.
Here did they rites, Perimedes and Eurylochus,
And drawing sword from my hip
I dug the ell-square pitkin;
Poured we libations unto each the dead,
First mead and then sweet wine, water mixed with white flour
Then prayed I many a prayer to the sickly death’s-heads;
As set in Ithaca, sterile bulls of the best
For sacrifice, heaping the pyre with goods,
A sheep to Tiresias only, black and a bell-sheep.
Dark blood flowed in the fosse,
Souls out of Erebus, cadaverous dead, of brides
Of youths and of the old who had borne much;
Souls stained with recent tears, girls tender,
Men many, mauled with bronze lance heads,
Battle spoil, bearing yet dreory arms,
These many crowded about me; with shouting,
Pallor upon me, cried to my men for more beasts;
Slaughtered the herds, sheep slain of bronze;
Poured ointment, cried to the gods,
To Pluto the strong, and praised Proserpine;
Unsheathed the narrow sword,
I sat to keep off the impetuous impotent dead,
Till I should hear Tiresias.
But first Elpenor came, our friend Elpenor,
Unburied, cast on the wide earth,
Limbs that we left in the house of Circe,
Unwept, unwrapped in the sepulchre, since toils urged other.
Pitiful spirit. And I cried in hurried speech:
“Elpenor, how art thou come to this dark coast?
“Cam’st thou afoot, outstripping seamen?”
And he in heavy speech:
“Ill fate and abundant wine. I slept in Crice’s ingle.
“Going down the long ladder unguarded,
“I fell against the buttress,
“Shattered the nape-nerve, the soul sought Avernus.
“But thou, O King, I bid remember me, unwept, unburied,
“Heap up mine arms, be tomb by sea-bord, and inscribed:
“A man of no fortune, and with a name to come.
“And set my oar up, that I swung mid fellows.”
And Anticlea came, whom I beat off, and then Tiresias Theban,
Holding his golden wand, knew me, and spoke first:
“A second time? why? man of ill star,
“Facing the sunless dead and this joyless region?
“Stand from the fosse, leave me my bloody bever
And I stepped back,
And he strong with the blood, said then: “Odysseus
“Shalt return through spiteful Neptune, over dark seas,
“Lose all companions.” Then Anticlea came.
Lie quiet Divus. I mean, that is Andreas Divus,
In officina Wecheli, 1538, out of Homer.
And he sailed, by Sirens and thence outwards and away
And unto Crice.
In the Cretan’s phrase, with the golden crown, Aphrodite,
Cypri munimenta sortita est, mirthful, oricalchi, with golden
Girdle and breat bands, thou with dark eyelids
Bearing the golden bough of Argicidia. So that:
Wal, Thanksgivin’ do be comin’ round.
With the price of turkeys on the bound,
And coal, by gum! Thet were just found,
Is surely gettin’ cheaper.
The winds will soon begin to howl,
And winter, in its yearly growl,
Across the medders begin to prowl,
And Jack Frost gettin’ deeper.
By shucks! It seems to me,
That you I orter be
Thankful, that our Ted could see
A way to operate it.
I sez to Mandy, sure, sez I,
I’ll bet thet air patch o’ rye
Thet he’ll squash ’em by-and-by,
And he did, by cricket!
No use talkin’, he’s the man—
One of the best thet ever ran,
Fer didn’t I turn Republican
One o’ the fust?
I ‘lowed as how he’d beat the rest,
But old Si Perkins, he hemmed and guessed,
And sed as how it wuzn’t best
To meddle with the trust.
O God, O Venus, O Mercury, patron of thieves,
Give me in due time, I beseech you, a little tobacco-shop,
With the little bright boxes
piled up neatly upon the shelves
And the loose fragrant cavendish
and the shag,
And the bright Virginia
loose under the bright glass cases,
And a pair of scales not too greasy,
And the whores dropping in for a word or two in passing,
For a flip word, and to tidy their hair a bit.
O God, O Venus, O Mercury, patron of thieves,
Lend me a little tobacco-shop,
or install me in any profession
Save this damn’d profession of writing,
where one needs one’s brains all the time.
Come, let us pity those who are better off than we are.
Come, my friend, and remember
that the rich have butlers and no friends,
And we have friends and no butlers.
Come, let us pity the married and the unmarried.
Dawn enters with little feet
like a gilded Pavlova
And I am near my desire.
Nor has life in it aught better
Than this hour of clear coolness
the hour of waking together.
Come, or the stellar tide will slip away.
Eastward avoid the hour of its decline,
Now! for the needle trembles in my soul!
Here we have had our vantage, the good hour.
Here we have had our day, your day and mine.
Come now, before this power
That bears us up, shall turn against the pole.
Mock not the flood of stars, the thing’s to be.
O Love, come now, this land turns evil slowly.
The waves bore in, soon they bear away.
The treasure is ours, make we fast land with it.
Move we and take the tide, with its next favour,
Under some neutral force
Until this course turneth aside.
After Li Po
While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
I played at 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 Chokan:
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 lookout?
At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-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 Cho-fu-sa.
O woe, woe,
People are born and die,
We also shall be dead pretty soon
Therefore let us act as if we were
The bird sits on the hawthorn tree
But he dies also, presently.
Some lads get hung, and some get shot.
Woeful is this human lot.
Woe! woe, etcetera . . . .
London is a woeful place,
Shropshire is much pleasanter.
Then let us smile a little space
Upon fond nature’s morbid grace.
Oh, Woe, woe, woe, etcetera . . . .
O generation of the thoroughly smug
and thoroughly uncomfortable,
I have seen fishermen picnicking in the sun,
I have seen them with untidy families,
I have seen their smiles full of teeth
and heard ungainly laughter.
And I am happier than you are,
And they were happier than I am;
And the fish swim in the lake
and do not even own clothing.
Beautiful, tragical faces—
Ye that were whole, and are so sunken;
And, O ye vile, ye that might have been loved,
That are so sodden and drunken,
Who hath forgotten you?
O wistful, fragile faces, few out of many!
The crass, the coarse, the brazen,
God knows I cannot pity them, perhaps, as I should do;
But oh, ye delicate, wistful faces,
Who hath forgotten you?
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, hos 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 trentuniesme
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, certainly, the obscure reveries
Of the inward gaze;
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”
Christ follows Dionysus,
Phallic and ambrosial
Made way for macerations;
Caliban casts out Ariel.
All things are a flowing
Sage Heracleitus say;
But a tawdry cheapness
Shall outlast our days.
Even the Christian beauty
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 Pisistratus,
We choose a knave or an eunuch
To rule over us.
O bright Apollo,
Tin andra, tin heroa, tina theon,
What god, man or hero
Shall I place a tin wreath upon!
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,
some in fear, learning love of slaughter;
Died some, pro patria,
non “dulce” not “et decor”…
walked eye-deep in hell
believing 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 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.
Italian Campagna 1309, the open road
Bah! I have sung women in three cities,
But it is all the same;
And I will sing of the sun.
Lips, words, and you snare them,
Dreams, words, and they are as jewels,
Strange spells of old deity,
Ravens, nights, allurement:
And they are not;
Having become the souls of song.
Eyes, dreams, lips, and the night goes.
Being upon the road once more,
They are not.
Forgetful in their towers of our tuneing
Once for wind-runeing
They dream us-toward and
Sighing, say, “Would Cino,
Passionate Cino, of the wrinkling eyes,
Gay Cino, of quick laughter,
Cino, of the dare, the jibe.
Frail Cino, strongest of his tribe
That tramp old ways beneath the sun-light,
Would Cino of the Luth were here!”
Once, twice a year—
Vaguely thus word they:
“Cino?” “Oh, eh, Cino Polnesi
The singer is’t you mean?”
“Ah yes, passed once our way,
A saucy fellow, but . . .
(Oh they are all one these vagabonds),
Peste! ’tis his own songs?
Or some other’s that he sings?
But you, My Lord, how with your city?”
My you “My Lord,” God’s pity!
And all I knew were out, My Lord, you
Were Lack-land Cino, e’en as I am,
I have sung women in three cities.
But it is all one.
I will sing of the sun.
…eh? …they mostly had grey eyes,
But it is all one, I will sing of the sun.
“‘Pollo Phoibee, old tin pan, you
Glory to Zeus’ aegis-day,
Shield o’ steel-blue, th’ heaven o’er us
Hath for boss thy lustre gay!
‘Pollo Phoibee, to our way-fare
Make thy laugh our wander-lied;
Bid thy ‘flugence bear away care.
Cloud and rain-tears pass they fleet!
Seeking e’er the new-laid rast-way
To the gardens of the sun…
* * *
I have sung women in theree cities
But it is all one.
I will sing of the white birds
In the blue waters of heaven,
The clouds that are spray to its sea.”
I stood still and was a tree amid the wood,
Knowing the truth of things unseen before;
Of Daphne and the laurel bow
And that god-feasting couple old
that grew elm-oak amid the wold.
’Twas not until the gods had been
Kindly entreated, and been brought within
Unto the hearth of their heart’s home
That they might do this wonder thing;
Nathless I have been a tree amid the wood
And many a new thing understood
That was rank folly to my head before.
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.
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
So cease we from all being for the time,
And these, the Masters of the Soul, live on.
For the seven lakes, and by no man these verses:
Rain; empty river; a voyage,
Fire from frozen cloud, heavy rain in the twilight
Under the cabin roof was one lantern.
The reeds are heavy; bent;
and the bamboos speak as if weeping.
Autumn moon; hills rise about lakes
Evening is like a curtain of cloud,
a blurr above ripples; and through it
sharp long spikes of the cinnamon,
a cold tune amid reeds.
Behind hill the monk’s bell
borne on the wind.
Sail passed here in April; may return in October
Boat fades in silver; slowly;
Sun blaze alone on the river.
Where wine flag catches the sunset
Sparse chimneys smoke in the cross light
Comes then snow scur on the river
And a world is covered with jade
Small boat floats like a lanthorn,
The flowing water closts as with cold. And at San Yin
they are a people of leisure.
Wild geese swoop to the sand-bar,
Clouds gather about the hole of the window
Broad water; geese line out with the autumn
Rooks clatter over the fishermen’s lanthorns,
A light moves on the north sky line;
where the young boys prod stones for shrimp.
In seventeen hundred came Tsing to these hill lakes.
A light moves on the South sky line.
State by creating riches shd. thereby get into debt?
Thsi is infamy; this is Geryon.
This canal goes still to TenShi
Though the old king built it for pleasure
K E I M E N R A N K E I
K I U M A N M A N K E I
JITSU GETSU K O K W A
T A N FUKU T A N K A I
Sun up; work
sundown; to rest
dig well and drink of the water
dig field; eat of the grain
Imperial power is? and to us what is it?
The fourth; the dimension of stillness.
And the power over wild beasts.
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.”
When I behold how black, immortal ink
Drips from my deathless pen—ah, well-away!
Why should we stop at all for what I think?
There is enough in what I chance to say.
It is enough that we once came together;
What is the use of setting it to rime?
When it is autumn do we get spring weather,
Or gather may of harsh northwindish time?
It is enough that we once came together;
What if the wind have turned against the rain?
It is enough that we once came together;
Time has seen this, and will not turn again;
And who are we, who know that last intent,
To plague to-morrow with a testament!
It is, and is not, I am sane enough,
Since you have come this place has hovered round me,
This fabrication built of autumn roses,
Then there’s a goldish colour, different.
And one gropes in these things as delicate
Algæ reach up and out, beneath
Pale slow green surgings of the underwave,
’Mid these things older than the names they have,
These things that are familiears of the god.
Your mind and you are our Sargasso Sea,
London has swept about you this score years
And bright ships left you this or that in fee:
Ideas, old gossip, oddments of all things,
Strange spars of knowledge and dimmed wares of price.
Great minds have sought you- lacking someone else.
You have been second always. Tragical?
No. You preferred it to the usual thing:
One dull man, dulling and uxorious,
One average mind- with one thought less, each year.
Oh, you are patient, I have seen you sit
Hours, where something might have floated up.
And now you pay one. Yes, you richly pay.
You are a person of some interest, one comes to you
And takes strange gain away:
Trophies fished up; some curious suggestion;
Fact that leads nowhere; and a tale for two,
Pregnant with mandrakes, or with something else
That might prove useful and yet never proves,
That never fits a corner or shows use,
Or finds its hour upon the loom of days:
The tarnished, gaudy, wonderful old work;
Idols and ambergris and rare inlays,
These are your riches, your great store; and yet
For all this sea-hoard of deciduous things,
Strange woods half sodden, and new brighter stuff:
In the slow float of differing light and deep,
No! there is nothing! In the whole and all,
Nothing that’s quite your own.
Yet this is you.
Come, my songs, let us express our baser passions.
Let us express our envy for the man with a steady job and no worry about the future.
You are very idle, my songs,
I fear you will come to a bad end.
You stand about the streets, You loiter at the corners and bus-stops,
You do next to nothing at all.
You do not even express our inner nobilitys,
You will come to a very bad end.
And I? I have gone half-cracked.
I have talked to you so much that I almost see you about me,
Insolent little beasts! Shameless! Devoid of clothing!
But you, newest song of the lot,
You are not old enough to have done much mischief.
I will get you a green coat out of China
With dragons worked upon it.
I will get you the scarlet silk trousers
From the statue of the infant Christ at Santa Maria Novella;
Lest they say we are lacking in taste,
Or that there is no caste in this family.
I would bathe myself in strangeness:
These comforts heaped upon me, smother me!
I burn, I scald so for the new,
New friends, new faces,
Oh to be out of this,
This that is all I wanted
—save the new.
Love, you the much, the more desired!
Do I not loathe all walls, streets, stones,
All mire, mist, all fog,
All ways of traffic?
You, I wold have flow over me like water,
Oh, but far out of this!
Grass, and low fields, and hills,
Oh, sun enough!
Out, and alone, among some
LOQUITUR: En Bertans de Born.
Dante Alighieri put this man in hell for that he was a stirrer up of strife.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!”
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!”
Go, dumb-born book,
Tell her that sang me once that song of Lawes:
Hadst thou but song
As thou hast subjects known,
Then were there cause in thee that should condone
Even my faults that heavy upon me lie,
And build her glories their longevity.
Tell her that sheds
Such treasure in the air,
Recking naught else but that her graces give
Life to the moment,
I would bid them live
As roses might, in magic amber laid,
Red overwrought with orange and all made
One substance and one color
Tell her that goes
With song upon her lips
But sings not out the song, nor knows
The maker of it, some other mouth
May be as fair as hers,
Might, in new ages, gain her worshippers,
When our two dusts with Waller’s shall be laid,
Siftings on siftings in oblivion,
Till change hath broken down
All things save beauty alone.
By the North Gate, the wind blows full of sand,
Lonely from the beginning of time until now!
Trees fall, the grass goes yellow with autumn.
I climb the towers and towers
to watch out the barbarous land:
Desolate castle, the sky, the wide desert.
There is no wall left to this village.
Bones white with a thousand frosts,
High heaps, covered with trees and grass;
Who brought this to pass?
Who has brought the flaming imperial anger?
Who has brought the army with drums and with kettle-drums?
A gracious spring, turned to blood-ravenous autumn,
A turmoil of wars-men, spread over the middle kingdom,
Three hundred and sixty thousand,
And sorrow, sorrow like rain.
Sorrow to go, and sorrow, sorrow returning,
Desolate, desolate fields,
And no children of warfare upon them,
No longer the men for offence and defence.
Ah, how shall you know the dreary sorrow at the North Gate,
With Rihoku’s name forgotten,
And we guardsmen fed to the tigers.