12 February 2010

Ezra Pound

[from Ezra Pound's The Cantos, New Directions, 1993]

LII [excerpt]

Know then:
          Toward summer when the sun is in Hyades
Sovran is Lord of the Fire
            to this month are birds.
with bitter smell and with the odour of burning
To the hearth god, lungs of the victim
          The green frog lifts up his voice
            and the white latex is in flower
In red car with jewels incarnadine
          to welcome the summer
In this month no destruction
            no tree shall be cut at this time
Wild beasts are driven from field
          in this month are simples gathered.
The empress offers cocoons to the Son of Heaven
          Then goes the sun into Gemini
Virgo in mid heaven at sunset
          indigo must not be cut
No wood burnt into charcoal
          gates are all open, no tax on the booths.
Now mares to go grazing,
            tie up the stallions
Post up the horsebreeding notices
            Month of the longest days
Life and death are now equal
            Strife is between light and darkness
Wise man stays in his house
            Stag droppeth antlers
Grasshopper is loud,
            leave no fire open to southward.
Now the sun enters Hydra, this is the third moon of summer
Antares of Scorpio stands mid heaven at sunset
Andromeda is with sunrise
            Lord of the fire is dominant
To this month is SEVEN,
            with bitter smell, with odour of burning
Offer to gods of the hearth
              the lungs of the victims
Warm wind is rising, cricket bideth in wall
Young goshawk is learning his labour
              dead grass breedeth glow-worms.
In Ming-T'ang HE bideth
              in the west wing of that house
Red car and the sorrel horses
              his banner incarnadine.
The fish ward now goes against crocodiles
To take all great lizards, turtles, for divination,
sea terrapin.
The lake warden to gather rushes
          to take grain for the manes
to take grain for the beasts you will sacrifice
to the Lords of the Mountains
          To the Lords of great rivers
Inspector of dye-works, inspector of colour and broideries
see that the white, black, green be in order
let no false colour exist here
black, yellow, green be of quality
            This month are trees in full sap
Rain has now drenched all the earth
            dead weeds enrich it, as if boil'd in a bouillon.
Sweet savour, the heart of the victim
yellow flag of Emperor's chariot
            yellow stones in his girdle.
Sagittarius in mid-course at sunset
            cold wind is beginning. Dew whitens.
Now is cicada's time,
          the sparrow hawk offers birds to the spirits.
Emperor goes out in war car, he is drawn by white horses,
white banner, white stones in his girdle
eats dog and the dish is deep.
            This month is the reign of Autumn
Heaven is active in metals, now gather millet
            and finish the flood-walls
Orion at sunrise.
            Horses now with black manes.
Eat dog meat. This is the month of ramparts.
Beans are the tribute. September is end of thunder
The hibernants go into their caves.
          Tolls lowered, now sparrows, they say, turn into oysters
The wolf now offers his sacrifice.
              Men hunt with five weapons,
They cut wood for charcoal.
            New rice with your dog meat.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice. I need to get a guide to reading Pound though. -Such a genius.