Saturday, January 19, 2008

Poetry Readings II: A Pound of Gold

It was in my college years in Pisa. It was perhaps springtime. It was a gorgeous morning.

I grabbed a copy of the Pisan Cantos, and walked along the Lungarno Pacinotti, trying to fathom the arcane abundance of cross-references, of ostentatious unmitigated erudition, of sparkles of divine beauties disseminated throughout this maddest of poems.

Then, as if struck by lightning, I stopped.

Those magic lines from the Canto LXXXI, the lines that redeem forever the sick life of Ezra Loomis Pound, il Miglior Fabbro:

What thou lovest well remains,

the rest is dross

What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee

What thou lov'st well is thy true heritage

Whose world, or mine or theirs

or is it of none?

First came the seen, then thus the palpable

Elysium, though it were in the halls of hell,

What thou lovest well is thy true heritage

What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee

Hear them, fellow reader, ponder them, one by one, line by line, and never, ever forget them. This is the speck of gold that shined in the darkest of muds

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