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Ezra Pound

Five poems by Ezra Pound:

1. Song of the Bowmen of Shu

2. The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter

3. And the days are not full enough

4. In a Station of the Metro

5. Meditatio

 

 

Song of the Bowmen of Shu

 

Here we are, picking the first fern-shoots

And saying: When shall we get back to our country?

Here we are because we have the Ken-nin for our foemen,

We have no comfort because of these Mongols.

We grub the soft fern-shoots,

When anyone says “Return,” the others are full of sorrow.

Sorrowful minds, sorrow is strong, we are hungry and thirsty.

Our defence is not yet made sure, no one can let his friend return.

We grub the old fern-stalks.

We say: Will we be let to go back in October?

There is no ease in royal affairs, we have no comfort.

Our sorrow is bitter, but we would not return to our country.

What flower has come into blossom?

Whose chariot? The General’s.

Horses, his horses even, are tired. They were strong.

We have no rest, three battles a month.

By heaven, his horses are tired.

The generals are on them, the soldiers are by them.

The horses are well trained, the generals have ivory arrows and quivers ornamented with fish-skin.

The enemy is swift, we must be careful.

When we set out, the willows were drooping with spring,

We come back in the snow,

We go slowly, we are hungry and thirsty,

Our mind is full of sorrow, who will know of our grief?

By Bunno, reputedly 1100 B. C.

 

          Ezra Pound

 

 

 

The River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter

 

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.

Rihaku

          Ezra Pound

 

 

 

And the days are not full enough

 

And the days are not full enough

And the nights are not full enough

And life slips by like a field mouse

Not shaking the grass

 

Ezra Pound

 

 

 

 

In a Station of the Metro

 

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;

petals on a wet, black bough.

 

Ezra Pound

 

 

 

 

Meditatio

 

When I carefully consider the curious habits of dogs

I am compelled to conclude

That man is the superior animal.

 

When I consider the curious habits of man

I confess, my friend, I am puzzled.

 

Ezra Pound

 

 

 

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