Come, let us pity those who are better off than we are.
Come, my friend, and remember
that the rich have butlers and no friends,
And we have friends and no butlers.
Come, let us pity the married and the unmarried.
Dawn enters with little feet
like a gilded Pavlova
And I am near my desire.
Nor has life in it aught better
Than this hour of clear coolness
the hour of waking together.
One of my greatest delights in high school and college was memorizing many of the poems of Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and of course “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. Those poems have resided securely in my memory for decades, especially The Raven. Some, I never bother to recite to anyone else, merely respectfully roll them over in my head. The Raven, I often recite to friends and family, mostly because everyone loves to hear it.
This afternoon, for absolutely no explicable reason, the disconnected phrase “And I am near my desire” popped into my head, and I could not remember its origin. It drove me crazy. Then after an hour of rummaging around the corners of my mind, the phrase, “Come, let us pity those who are better off than we are” popped into my head, and of course the rest of “The Garret” quickly and happily filled my head, as if it had never left. I repeated it silently to myself and then recited it aloud a few times just to remind myself of college, the last time I recited it, 50 years ago. Thanks, Ezra, for those wonderful and eternally enduring memories.
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
This is my favorite poem. It has only 2 stanzas, but it says so much and the image of the morning in the garret stays with the reader. Whenever I am stuck in traffic or stressed out at work, I go to this poem as a “happy place”. The moment Pound describes is so real, and so fulfilling, and so utterly without specifics. I first read this poem in high school, and I knew that I would always love it, because the image is as attainable as it is attractive. That bed is not out of reach for us. The poem doesn’t stipulate that it has to be a big fancy bed, or a large room, and the sun can come in your window whether or not you have expensive drapes. Your “desire” can be your husband, boyfriend, wife, girlfriend, anyone. It does not say the gender or any comments on what the person looks like, only that you desire that person. In order to have this perfect moment, all you need is a bed, a partner, and a window. This perfect moment can come to you whether you have butlers, friends, whether you are rich,poor, married or unmarried. In this poem, Pound tells us that the titles and circumstances that we think are important (in the first stanza) have actually no bearing on whether or not we can be happy (the scene described in the second stanza). It is a profound and welcome statement.
Ezra Pound was a master of metonymy which is almost liek symbolism. in the garret he mentions “unmarried and married” which encompasses the world’s population, minus pound and his lover or “friend” and “desire”. Although everyday many take a simple activity such as waking up next to their lover for granted, Pound, in those final three lines, gives that moment more value than anything else life has to offer. i think its a beautiful poem