Visualizing Ezra Pound's Early Poetry: by Amardeep Singh

An Idyl for Glaucus

[Intertextual: Story of Glaucus is in Ovid. Also allusion to Dante in the epigram.]

Nel suo aspetto tal dentro mifei
Qual si fe' Glauco nel gustar dell' erba
Che il fe' consorto in mar degli altri dei.
PARADISO, I, 67-9.

"As Glaucus tasting the grass that made
him sea-fellow with the other gods."



Whither he went I may not follow him. His eyes
Were strange to-day. They always were,
After their fashion, kindred of the sea.

To-day I found him. It is very long
That I had sought among the nets, and when I asked
The fishermen, they laughed at me.
I sought long days amid the cliffs thinking to find
The body-house of him, and then
There at the blue cave-mouth my joy
Grew pain for suddenness, to see him 'live.
Whither he went I may not come, it seems
He is become estranged from all the rest,
And all the sea is now his wonder-house.
And he may sink unto strange depths, he tells me of,
That have no light as we it deem.
E'en now he speaks strange words. I did not know
One half the substance of his speech with me.
And then when I saw naught he sudden leaped
And shot, a gleam of silver, down, away.
And I have spent three days upon this rock
And yet he comes no more.
He did not even seem to know
I watched him gliding through the vitreous deep.


They chide me that the skein I used to spin
Holds not my interest now,
They mock me at the route, well, I have come again.
Last night I saw three white forms move
Out past the utmost wave that bears the white foam crest.
I somehow knew that he was one of them.

Oimè, Oimè. I think each time they come
Up from the sea heart to the realm of air
They are more far-removed from the shore.
When first I found him here, he slept
E'en as he might after a long night's taking on the deep.
And when he woke some whit the old kind smile
Dwelt round his lips and held him near to me.
But then strange gleams shot through the grey-deep eyes
As though he saw beyond and saw not me.
And when he moved to speak it troubled him.
And then he plucked at grass and bade me eat.
And then forgot me for the sea its charm
And leapt him in the wave and so was gone.


I wonder why he mocked me with the grass.
I know not any more how long it is
Since I have dwelt not in my mother's house.
I know they think me mad, for all night long
I haunt the sea-marge, thinking I may find
Some day the herb he offered unto me.
Perhaps he did not jest; they say some simples have
More wide-spanned power than old wives draw from them.

Perhaps, found I this grass, he'd come again.
Perhaps 'tis some strange charm to draw him here,
'Thout which he may not leave his new-found crew
That ride the two-foot coursers of the deep,
And laugh in storms and break the fishers' nets.
Oimè, Oimè!


Voices in the Wind.

We have worn the blue and vair,
And all the sea-caves
Know us of old, and know our new-found mate.
There's many a secret stair
The sea-folk climb....

Out of the Wind.

Oimè, Oimè!

I wonder why the wind, even the wind doth seem
To mock me now, all night, all night, and
Have I strayed among the cliffs here
They say, some day I'll fall
Down through the sea-bit fissures, and no more
Know the warm cloak of sun, or bathe
The dew across my tired eyes to comfort them.
They try to keep me hid within four walls.
I will not stay!
And the wind saith; Oimè!

I am quite tired now. I know the grass
Must grow somewhere along this Thracian coast,
If only he would come some little while and find it me.


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