Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Pact - Ezra Pound

I make a pact with you, Walt Whitman -
I have detested you long enough.
I come to you as a grown child
Who has had a pig-headed father;
I am old enough now to make friends.
It was you that broke the new wood,
Now is a time for carving.
We have one sap and one root -
Let there be commerce between us.

I had to post this poem because of my own personal feelings about Walt Whitman.  I've long been unable to stomach his poetry, finding it largely gag inducing, with his O!s and exhortations.  While I do not have a pig-headed father (instead a wonderful one), I can relate to pretty much everything else in this poem.  Even though I've never liked Whitman's poetry, I do recognize his tremendous achievements ("It was you who broke the new wood") and artistic talent.

I like the idea of moving on, of choosing to let go of bad feelings.  In the case of Pound and Whitman, Pound felt it silly that one poetic talent, though not contemporary with the other, should in some way detest the other.  It's a time for carving, for taking what came before and honing it, working with it, rather than against it.  "Let there be commerce between us."

1 comment:

  1. This brought to mind an image of a certain young political intern, now some years the more mature, returning her copy of Leaves of Grass to a former President with this poem pasted on the cover.