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Thread: The Cantos

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    Default The Cantos

    pretty musch everery time i'm dismisssive about something i have to end up haveing a go at it and then when i have a go at it i prettymuch always think, oh, i was wrong, thats really good. so i slagged off the cantos before i read them, becuase they looked hard then i was sitting around one day gently stoned and i picked up some pound and i was liking it and so i got the cantos book big one and i startede reading that and i'm still reading it and its maybe the best book ever in the history of books. not that i youn kinow, understand it or anything, but i do like it though. say something intelligent about the cantosthat will enchance my enjoyment of the poetry, cheers, booby bistoid

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    i remember bigging up early ezra a while back on here.

    love, love, love the later cantos - what thou lovest well remains

    pull down thy vanity/ thou art a beaten dog beneath the hail (LXXXI)

    i find the stuff in the middle of the cantos on usury hard going at times though

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    XVII



    So that the vines burst from my fingers

    And the bees weighted with pollen

    Move heavily in the vine-shoots:

    chirr---chirr---chir-rikk---a purring sound,

    And the birds sleepily in the branches.

    ZAGREUS IO ZAGREUS!

    With the first pale-clear of the heaven

    And the cities set in their hills,

    And the goddess of the fair knees

    Moving there, with the oak-woods behind her,

    The green slope, with white hounds

    leaping about her;

    And thence down to the creek's mouth, until evening,

    Flat water before me,

    and the trees growing in water,

    Marble trunks out of stillness,

    On past the palazzi,

    in the stillness,

    The light now, not of the sun.

    Chrysophrase,

    And the water green clear, and blue clear;

    On, to the great cliffs of amber.

    Between them,

    Cave of Nerea,

    she like a great shell curved,

    And the boat drawn without sound,

    Without odour of ship-work,

    Nor bird-cry, nor any noise of wave moving,

    Nor splash of porpoise, nor any noise of wave moving,

    Within her cave, Nerea,

    she like a great shell curved

    In the suavity of the rock,

    cliff green-gray in the far,

    In the near, the gate-cliffs of amber,

    And the wave

    green clear, and blue clear,

    And the cave salt-white, and glare-purple,

    cool, porphyry smooth,

    the rock sea-worn.

    No gull-cry, no sound of porpoise,

    Sand as of malachite, and no cold there,

    the light not of the sun.


    Zagreus, feeding his panthers,

    the turf clear as on hills under light.

    And under the almond-trees, gods,

    with them, choros nympharum. Gods,

    Hermes and Athene,

    As shaft of compass,

    Between them, trembled---

    To the left is the place of fauns,

    sylva nympharum;

    The low wood, moor-scrub,

    the doe, the young spotted deer,

    leap up through the broom-plants,

    as dry leaf amid yellow.

    And by one cut of the hills,

    the great alley of Memnons.

    Beyond, sea, crests seen over dune

    Night sea churning shingle,

    To the left, the alley of cypress.

    A boat came,

    One man holding her sail,

    Guiding her with oar caught over gunwale, saying:

    " There, in the forest of marble,

    " the stone trees---out of water---

    " the arbours of stone---

    " marble leaf, over leaf,

    " silver, steel over steel,

    " silver beaks rising and crossing,

    " prow set against prow,

    " stone, ply over ply,

    " the gilt beams flare of an evening"

    Borso, Carmagnola, the men of craft, i vitrei,

    Thither, at one time, time after time,

    And the waters richer than glass,

    Bronze gold, the blaze over the silver,

    Dye-pots in the torch-light,

    The flash of wave under prows,

    And the silver beaks rising and crossing.

    Stone trees, white and rose-white in the darkness,

    Cypress there by the towers,

    Drift under hulls in the night.


    "In the gloom the gold

    Gathers the light about it." ...


    Now supine in burrow, half over-arched bramble,

    One eye for the sea, through that peek-hole,

    Gray light, with Athene.

    Zothar and her elephants, the gold loin-cloth,

    The sistrum, shaken, shaken,

    the cohorts of her dancers.

    And Aletha, by bend of the shore,

    with her eyes seaward,

    and in her hands sea-wrack

    Salt-bright with the foam.

    Korť through the bright meadow,

    with green-gray dust in the grass:

    "For this hour, brother of Circe."

    Arm laid over my shoulder,

    Saw the sun for three days, the sun fulvid,

    As a lion lift over sand-plain;

    and that day,

    And for three days, and none after,

    Splendour, as the splendour of Hermes,

    And shipped thence

    to the stone place,

    Pale white, over water,

    known water,

    And the white forest of marble, bent bough over bough,

    The pleached arbour of stone,

    Thither Borso, when they shot the barbed arrow at him,

    And Carmagnola, between the two columns,

    Sigismundo, after that wreck in Dalmatia.

    Sunset like the grasshopper flying.

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    (Originally posted Feb' 2004. I would now be nicer to Zukofsky and Olson.)
    very temporary state of affairs

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    the earlier essay has so much more life in it than the later one craner. you should pay attention to that and realise where your strengths lie.

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    vivacious, giddy prose. like a jane austen character whos just seen the man of her dreams. thats your bag.

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    whats your favourite canto? post it in full so the young ones can be inspired. or even say whats your top 3?

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    CANTO II

    HANG it all, Robert Browning,
    there can be but the one "Sordello."
    But Sordello, and my Sordello?
    Lo Sordels si fo di Mantovana.
    So-shu churned in the sea.
    Seal sports in the spray-whited circles of cliff-wash,
    Sleek head, daughter of Lir,
    eyes of Picasso
    Under black fur-hood, lithe daughter of Ocean;
    And the wave runs in the beach-groove:
    "Eleanor, ἑλέναυς and ἑλέπτολις!"
    And poor old Homer blind, blind, as a bat,
    Ear, ear for the sea-surge, murmur of old men's voices:
    "Let her go back to the ships,
    Back among Grecian faces, lest evil come on our own,
    Evil and further evil, and a curse cursed on our children,
    Moves, yes she moves like a goddess
    And has the face of a god
    and the voice of Schoeney's daughters,
    And doom goes with her in walking,
    Let her go back to the ships,
    back among Grecian voices."
    And by the beach-run, Tyro,
    Twisted arms of the sea-god,
    Lithe sinews of water, gripping her, cross-hold,
    And the blue-gray glass of the wave tents them,
    Glare azure of water, cold-welter, close cover.
    Quiet sun-tawny sand-stretch,
    The gulls broad out their wings,
    nipping between the splay feathers;
    Snipe come for their bath,
    bend out their wing-joints,
    Spread wet wings to the sun-film,
    And by Scios,
    to left of the Naxos passage,
    Naviform rock overgrown,
    algś cling to its edge,
    There is a wine-red glow in the shallows,
    a tin flash in the sun-dazzle.

    The ship landed in Scios,
    men wanting spring-water,
    And by the rock-pool a young boy loggy with vine-must,
    "To Naxos? Yes, we'll take you to Naxos,
    Cum' along lad." "Not that way!"
    "Aye, that way is Naxos."
    And I said: "It's a straight ship."
    And an ex-convict out of Italy
    knocked me into the fore-stays,
    (He was wanted for manslaughter in Tuscany)
    And the whole twenty against me,
    Mad for a little slave money.
    And they took her out of Scios
    And off her course...
    And the boy came to, again, with the racket,
    And looked out over the bows,
    and to eastward, and to the Naxos passage.
    God-sleight then, god-sleight:
    Ship stock fast in sea-swirl,
    Ivy upon the oars, King Pentheus,
    grapes with no seed but sea-foam,
    Ivy in scupper-hole.
    Aye, I, Acútes, stood there,
    and the god stood by me,
    Water cutting under the keel,
    Sea-break from stern forrards,
    wake running off from the bow,
    And where was gunwale, there now was vine-trunk,
    And tenthril where cordage had been,
    grape-leaves on the rowlocks,
    Heavy vine on the oarshafts,
    And, out of nothing, a breathing,
    hot breath on my ankles,
    Beasts like shadows in glass,
    a furred tail upon nothingness.
    Lynx-purr, and heathery smell of beasts,
    where tar smell had been,
    Sniff and pad-foot of beasts,
    eye-glitter out of black air.
    The sky overshot, dry, with no tempest,
    Sniff and pad-foot of beasts,
    fur brushing my knee-skin,
    Rustle of airy sheaths,
    dry forms in the śther.
    And the ship like a keel in ship-yard,
    slung like an ox in smith's sling,
    Ribs stuck fast in the ways,
    grape-cluster over pin-rack,
    void air taking pelt.
    Lifeless air become sinewed,
    feline leisure of panthers,
    Leopards sniffing the grape shoots by scupper-hole,
    Crouched panthers by fore-hatch,
    And the sea blue-deep about us,
    green-ruddy in shadows,
    And Lyśus: "From now, Acútes, my altars,
    Fearing no bondage,
    fearing no cat of the wood,
    Safe with my lynxes,
    feeding grapes to my leopards,
    Olibanum is my incense,
    the vines grow in my homage."

    The back-swell now smooth in the rudder-chains,
    Black snout of a porpoise
    where Lycabs had been,
    Fish-scales on the oarsmen.
    And I worship.
    I have seen what I have seen.
    When they brought the boy I said:
    "He has a god in him,
    though I do not know which god."
    And they kicked me into the fore-stays.
    I have seen what I have seen:
    Medon's face like the face of a dory,
    Arms shrunk into fins. And you, Pentheus,
    Had as well listen to Tiresias, and to Cadmus,
    or your luck will go out of you.
    Fish-scales over groin muscles,
    lynx-purr amid sea...
    And of a later year,
    pale in the wine-red algś,
    If you will lean over the rock,
    the coral face under wave-tinge,
    Rose-paleness under water-shift,
    Ileuthyeria, fair Dafne of sea-bords,
    The swimmer's arms turned to branches,
    Who will say in what year,
    fleeing what band of tritons,
    The smooth brows, seen, and half seen,
    now ivory stillness.

    And So-shu churned in the sea, So-shu also,
    using the long moon for a churn-stick...
    Lithe turning of water,
    sinews of Poseidon,
    Black azure and hyaline,
    glass wave over Tyro,
    Close cover, unstillness,
    bright welter of wave-cords,
    Then quiet water,
    quiet in the buff sands,
    Sea-fowl stretching wing-joints,
    splashing in rock-hollows and sand-hollows
    In the wave-runs by the half-dune;
    Glass-glint of wave in the tide-rips against sunlight,
    pallor of Hesperus,
    Grey peak of the wave,
    wave, colour of grape's pulp,

    Olive grey in the near,
    far, smoke grey of the rock-slide,
    Salmon-pink wings of the fish-hawk
    cast grey shadows in water,
    The tower like a one-eyed great goose
    cranes up out of the olive-grove,

    And we have heard the fauns chiding Proteus
    in the smell of hay under the olive-trees,
    And the frogs singing against the fauns
    in the half-light.
    And...

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    a huge breakthrough for me, last year, was reading this

    In The Birth of Modernism: Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, and the Occult (1993), critic Leon Surette writes that The Cantos trace in epic fashion the historical interplay of two opposing forces -- one which frees and flows and the other which attempts to block, divert and capture this flow:

    The Cantos explain historical event through its exposure of a malignancy blocking the creative forces that are also identified and celebrated in the poem. Pound calls the malignancy "Usura." The creative forces are called "amor" and "Eleusis."
    and realising that the economics arent a crank adjunct but a crucial outgrowth of this understanding. it is how i came to formulate the concept of Flowy Zoe. "Flowy Zoe is not a Mental State it is a state beyond mental."

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    his economics are concerned with the flow of money and resisting the urge (anal rententive) to hoard. it's how i came to write my poem

    Screenomics. Simple/keep it in motion/
    the valve is sphincter/unblock the turd-hoard
    tightarse/and burn the surplus/
    in celebration.

    which is about economics in both the conventional and libidinal sense.

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    it then threw light on why his hell canto is full of shit

    CANTO XIV

    Io venni in luogo díogni luce muto;
    The stench of wet coal, politicians
    . . . . . . . . . . e and. . . . . n, their wrists bound to
    their ankles,
    Standing bare bum,
    Faces smeared on their rumps,
    wide eye on flat buttock,
    Bush hanging for beard,
    Addressing crowds through their arse-holes,
    Addressing the multitudes in the ooze,
    newts, water-slugs, water-maggots,
    And with them. . . . . . . r,
    a scrupulously clean table-napkin
    Tucked under his penis,
    and. . . . . . . . . . . m
    Who disliked colioquial language,
    stiff-starched, but soiled, collars
    circumscribing his legs,
    The pimply and hairy skin
    pushing over the collarís edge,
    Profiteers drinking blood sweetened with sh-t,
    And behind them. . . . . . f and the financiers
    lashing them with steel wires.

    And the betrayers of language
    . . . . . . n and the press gang
    And those who had lied for hire;
    the perverts, the perverters of language,
    the perverts, who have set money-lust
    Before the pleasures of the senses;

    howling, as of a hen-yard in a printing-house,
    the clatter of presses,
    the blowing of dry dust and stray paper,
    fretor, sweat, the stench of stale oranges,
    dung, last cess-pool of the universe,
    mysterium, acid of sulphur,
    the pusillanimous, raging;
    plunging jewels in mud,
    and howling to find them unstained;
    sadic mothers driving their daughters to bed with decrepitude,
    sows eating their litters,
    and here the placard ΕΙΚΩΝ ΓΗΣ,
    and here: THE PERSONNEL CHANGES,

    melting like dirty wax,
    decayed candles, the bums sinking lower,
    faces submerged under hams,
    And in the ooze under them,
    reversed, foot-palm to foot-palm,
    hand-palm to hand-palm, the agents provocateurs
    The murderers of Pearse and MacDonagh,
    Captain H. the chief torturer;
    The petrified turd that was Verres,
    bigots, Calvin and St. Clement of Alexandria!
    black-beetles, burrowing into the sh-t,
    The soil a decrepitude, the ooze full of morsels,
    lost contours, erosions.

    Above the hell-rot
    the great arse-hole,
    broken with piles,
    hanging stalactites,
    greasy as sky over Westminster,
    the invisible, many English,
    the place lacking in interest,
    last squalor, utter decrepitude,
    the vice-crusaders, fahrting through silk,
    waving the Christian symbols,
    . . . . . . . . frigging a tin penny whistle,
    Flies carrying news, harpies dripping sh-t through the air.

    The slough of unamiable liars,
    bog of stupidities,
    malevolent stupidities, and stupidities,
    the soil living pus, full of vermin,
    dead maggots begetting live maggots,
    slum owners,
    usurers squeezing crab-lice, pandars to authori
    pets-de-loup, sitting on piles of stone books,
    obscuring the texts with philology,
    hiding them under their persons,
    the air without refuge of silence,
    the drift of lice, teething,
    and above it the mouthing of orators,
    the arse-belching of preachers.
    And Invidia,
    the corruptio, fretor, fungus,
    liquid animals, melted ossifications,
    slow rot, fretid combustion,
    chewed cigar-butts, without dignity, without tragedy
    . . . . .m Episcopus, waving a condom full of black-beetles,
    monopolists, obstructors of knowledge.
    obstructors of distribution.

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