03 December 2009

Ezra Pound

[from Ezra Pound's The Cantos, New Directions, 1996]

XVI [excerpt]

And before hell mouth; dry plain
                       and two mountains;
On the one mountain, a running form,
                       and another
In the turn of the hill; in hard steel
The road like a slow screw’s thread,
The angle almost imperceptible,
            so that the circuit seemed hardly to rise;
And the running form, naked, Blake,
Shouting, whirling his arms, the swift limbs,
Howling against the evil,
            his eyes rolling,
Whirling like flaming cart wheels,
            and his head held backward to gaze on the evil
As he ran from it,
            to be hid by the steel mountain,
And when he showed again from the north side;
            his eyes blazing toward hell mouth,
His neck forward,
            and like him Peire Cardinal.
And in the west mountain, Il Fiorentino,
Seeing hell in his mirror,
            and lo Sordels
Looking on it in his shield;
And Augustine, gazing toward the invisible.

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