About the poet
Ezra Pound (1885-1972) is now recognised as the central figure of Anglo/American modernism, the...
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
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.
from The Cantos of Ezra Pound (Faber, 1975), copyright © 1934, 1937, 1940, 1948, 1956, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1966 and 1968 by Ezra Pound, by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. Recording used by permission of the BBC.