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Ezra Pound - Canto XLIX

For the seven lakes, and by no man these verses:
Rain; empty river; a voyage,
Fire from frozen cloud, heavy rain in the twilight
Under the cabin roof was one lantern.
The reeds are heavy; bent;
and the bamboos speak as if weeping.

Autumn moon; hills rise about lakes
against sunset
Evening is like a curtain of cloud,
a blurr above ripples; and through it
sharp long spikes of the cinnamon,
a cold tune amid reeds.
Behind hill the monk's bell
borne on the wind.
Sail passed here in April; may return in October
Boat fades in silver; slowly;
Sun blaze alone on the river.

Where wine flag catches the sunset
Sparse chimneys smoke in the cross light

Comes then snow scur on the river
And a world is covered with jade
Small boat floats like a lanthorn,
The flowing water closts as with cold. And at San Yin
they are a people of leisure.

Wild geese swoop to the sand-bar,
Clouds gather about the hole of the window
Broad water; geese line out with the autumn
Rooks clatter over the fishermen's lanthorns,

A light moves on the north sky line;
where the young boys prod stones for shrimp.
In seventeen hundred came Tsing to these hill lakes.
A light moves on the South sky line.

State by creating riches shd. thereby get into debt?
This is infamy; this is Geryon.
This canal goes still to TenShi
Though the old king built it for pleasure

K E I M E N R A N K E I
K I U M A N M A N K E I 
JITSU GETSU K O K W A
T A N FUKU T A N K A I

Sun up; work
sundown; to rest
dig well and drink of the water
dig field; eat of the grain
Imperial power is? and to us what is it?

The fourth; the dimension of stillness.
And the power over wild beasts.

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Added: Feb 4 2004 | Viewed: 925 times | Comments and analysis of Canto XLIX by Ezra Pound Comments (1)

Canto XLIX - Comments and Information

Poet: Ezra Pound
Poem: 49. Canto XLIX
Volume: The Cantos
Year: Published/Written in 1935
Poem of the Day: Jun 27 2000

Comment 1 of 1, added on April 5th, 2005 at 12:18 AM.

The natural world of the soul here is lit up luminously with words which are luminous, a pacing of diction which emphasizes silence, and yet a sense of detachment which shows the slow motion world of ancient China as if through a lens of Pound's historicism. The details are blanched into language, and detached from a sense of reality, in abrupt strokes of words which don't quite gell with the main image, creating a linguistic haze over the whole. Cerebral, lovely, and haunting poetry.

Paul Bard from Australia

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