Ezra Pound





Canto CXVI

Came Neptunus 
                    his mind leaping
                                         like dolphins
These concepts the human mind has attained.
To make Cosmos ---
To achieve the possible ---
Muss., wrecked for an error,
But the record
                 the palimpsest ---
a little light
                  in great darkness ---
cuniculi ---
An old “crank” dead in Virginia.
Unprepared young burdened with records,
The vision of the Madonna
                      above the cigar butts
                               and over the portal.
“Have made a mass of laws”
                                           (mucchio di leggi)
Litterae nihil sanantes
                                  Justinian’s,
a tangle of works unfinished.
I have brought the great ball of crystal;
                           who can lift it?
Can you enter the great acorn of light?
                  But the beauty is not the madness
Tho’ my errors and wrecks lie about me.
And I am not a demigod,
I cannot make it cohere.
If love be not in the house there is nothing.
The voice of famine unheard.
How came beauty against this blackness,
Twice beauty under the elms ---
                   To be saved by squirrels and bluejays?
                               “plus j’aime le chien”
 Ariadne.
               Disney against the metaphysicals,
and Laforgue more than they thought in him,
Spire thanked me in proposito
And I have learned more from Jules
                                                      (Jules Laforgue) since then
deeps in him,
                  And Linnaeus.
                                        chi crescerà i nostri ---
but about that terzo  
                   third heaven,         
                                  that Venere,
again is all “paradiso”
            a nice quiet paradise
                               over the shambles,
and some climbing
                         before the take-off,
to “see again,”
the verb is “see,” not ‘walk on”
i.e. it coheres all right
                           even if my notes do not cohere.
Many errors,
                     a little rightness,
to excuse his hell
                             and my paradiso.
And as to why they go wrong,
                                thinking of rightness
And as to who will copy this palimpsest?
               al poco giorno
                                      ed al gran cerchio d’ombra
But to affirm the gold thread in the pattern
                                                  (Torcello)
al Vicolo d’oro
                         (Tigullio).
To confess wrong without losing rightness:
Charity I have had sometimes,
                  I cannot make it flow thru.
A little light, like a rushlight
                          to lead back to splendour.