Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Poetry Wednesday

By Judith

While I've mentioned Ezra Pound several times, I have yet to post a poem of his. So here we go.

Known for his bohemian lifestyle and his unpopular opinions, Pound (1885-1972) may not have been very well liked, but his influence on modern poetry was enormous. A champion of other poets of his time, his own poetry went through many stages until it now is considered some of the finest of the modern era. His early influences were the Pre-Raphaelites and medieval poetry. After 1945 his poetry took a decided turn toward probing his own collapse in the face of the collapse of Europe.

But today's poem is from an earlier era. The language belies the form; what sounds old and formal is not. It's as though the repeating refrain, "Free us" is both a plea and a bold statement. And probably every college student who is tired of study and wants to escape for some "easy on the eyes" fun can relate. Here is Pound's "The Eyes."

The Eyes

Rest, Master, for we be a-weary, weary
And would feel the fingers of the wind
Upon these lids that lie over us
Sodden and lead-heavy.

Rest, brother, for lo! the dawn is without!
The yellow flame paleth
And the wax runs low.

Free us, for without be goodly colors,
Green of the wood-moss and flower colors,
And coolness beneath the trees.

Free us, for we perish
In this ever-flowing monotony
Of ugly print marks, black
Upon white parchment.

Free us, for there is one
Whose smile more availeth
Than all the age-old knowledge of thy books:
And we would look thereon.

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