Saturday, 11 November 2017

There died a myriad


Extract of a poem by Ezra Pound - appropriate for Remembrance Day 2017.


IV
These fought in any case,
and some believing,
pro domo, in any case…

Some quick to arm,
some for adventure,
some from fear of weakness,
some from fear of censure,
some for love of slaughter, in imagination,
learning later…
some in fear, learning love of slaughter;

Died some, pro patria,
non ‘dulce’ non ‘et decor’…
walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men’s lies, then unbelieving
came home, home to a lie,
home to many deceits,
home to old lies and new infamy;
usury age-old and age-thick
and liars in public places.

Daring as never before, wastage as never before.
Young blood and high blood,
Fair cheeks, and fine bodies;

fortitude as never before

frankness as never before,
disillusions as never told in the old days,
hysterias, trench confessions,
laughter out of dead bellies.



V
There died a myriad,
And of the best, among them,
For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization,

Charm, smiling at the good mouth,
Quick eyes gone under earth’s lid,

For two gross of broken statues,
For a few thousand battered books.




From Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920)