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Pound, Ezra - The Cantos

Pound, Ezra - The Cantos



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Published by: skware1 on Jun 18, 2012
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[from The Cantos of Ezra Pound (1972)]Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972:THE CANTOS OF EZRA POUND
(BY Walid Horchi)
Canto I
1 And then went down to the ship,2 Set keel to breakers, forth on the godly sea, and3 We set up mast and sail on that swart ship,4 Bore sheep aboard her, and our bodies also5 Heavy with weeping, and winds from sternward6 Bore us out onward with bellying canvas,7 Circe's this craft, the trim-coifed goddess.8 Then sat we amidships, wind jamming the tiller,9 Thus with stretched sail, we went over sea till day's end.10 Sun to his slumber, shadows o'er all the ocean,11 Came we then to the bounds of deepest water,12 To the Kimmerian lands, and peopled cities13 Covered with close-webbed mist, unpierced ever 14 With glitter of sun-rays15 Nor with stars stretched, nor looking back from heaven16 Swartest night stretched over wretched men there.17 The ocean flowing backward, came we then to the place18 Aforesaid by Circe.19 Here did they rites, Perimedes and Eurylochus,20 And drawing sword from my hip21 I dug the ell-square pitkin;22 Poured we libations unto each the dead,23 First mead and then sweet wine, water mixed with white flour.24 Then prayed I many a prayer to the sickly death's-heads;25 As set in Ithaca, sterile bulls of the best26 For sacrifice, heaping the pyre with goods,27 A sheep to Tiresias only, black and a bell-sheep.28 Dark blood flowed in the fosse,Horchi1
29 Souls out of Erebus, cadaverous dead, of brides30 Of youths and of the old who had borne much;31 Souls stained with recent tears, girls tender,32 Men many, mauled with bronze lance heads,33 Battle spoil, bearing yet dreory arms,34 These many crowded about me; with shouting,35 Pallor upon me, cried to my men for more beasts;36 Slaughtered the herds, sheep slain of bronze;37 Poured ointment, cried to the gods,38 To Pluto the strong, and praised Proserpine;39 Unsheathed the narrow sword,40 I sat to keep off the impetuous impotent dead,41 Till I should hear Tiresias.42 But first Elpenor came, our friend Elpenor,43 Unburied, cast on the wide earth,44 Limbs that we left in the house of Circe,45 Unwept, unwrapped in sepulchre, since toils urged other.46 Pitiful spirit. And I cried in hurried speech:47 "Elpenor, how art thou come to this dark coast?48 "Cam'st thou afoot, outstripping seamen?"49 And he in heavy speech:50 "Ill fate and abundant wine. I slept in Circe's ingle.51 "Going down the long ladder unguarded,52 "I fell against the buttress,53 "Shattered the nape-nerve, the soul sought Avernus.54 "But thou, O King, I bid remember me, unwept, unburied,55 "Heap up mine arms, be tomb by sea-bord, and inscribed:56 "A man of no fortune, and with a name to come.57 "And set my oar up, that I swung mid fellows."58 And Anticlea came, whom I beat off, and then Tiresias Theban,59 Holding his golden wand, knew me, and spoke first:60 "A second time? why? man of ill star,61 "Facing the sunless dead and this joyless region?62 "Stand from the fosse, leave me my bloody bever 63 "For soothsay."64 And I stepped back,65 And he strong with the blood, said then: "Odysseus66 "Shalt return through spiteful Neptune, over dark seas,67 "Lose all companions." And then Anticlea came.68 Lie quiet Divus. I mean, that is Andreas Divus,69 In officina Wecheli, 1538, out of Homer.Horchi2
70 And he sailed, by Sirens and thence outward and away71 And unto Circe.72 Venerandam,73 In the Cretan's phrase, with the golden crown, Aphrodite,74 Cypri munimenta sortita est, mirthful, orichalchi, with golden75 Girdles and breast bands, thou with dark eyelids76 Bearing the golden bough of Argicida. So that:
Canto II
77 Hang it all, Robert Browning,78 there can be but the one "Sordello."79 But Sordello, and my Sordello?80 Lo Sordels si fo di Mantovana.81 So-shu churned in the sea.82 Seal sports in the spray-whited circles of cliff-wash,83 Sleek head, daughter of Lir,84 eyes of Picasso85 Under black fur-hood, lithe daughter of Ocean;86 And the wave runs in the beach-groove:87 "Eleanor, and !"88 And poor old Homer blind, blind, as a bat,89 Ear, ear for the sea-surge, murmur of old men's voices:90 "Let her go back to the ships,91 Back among Grecian faces, lest evil come on our own,92 Evil and further evil, and a curse cursed on our children,93 Moves, yes she moves like a goddess94 And has the face of a god95 and the voice of Schoeney's daughters,96 And doom goes with her in walking,97 Let her go back to the ships,98 back among Grecian voices."99 And by the beach-run, Tyro,100 Twisted arms of the sea-god,101 Lithe sinews of water, gripping her, cross-hold,102 And the blue-gray glass of the wave tents them,103 Glare azure of water, cold-welter, close cover.104 Quiet sun-tawny sand-stretch,105 The gulls broad out their wings,106 nipping between the splay feathers;[Page 7]107 Snipe come for their bath,108 bend out their wing-joints,109 Spread wet wings to the sun-film,Horchi3

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