O traveler, who comes by here, be mindful:
Here lies Ezra P., poet of the Cantos,
in Pisan land. He was valued
while he lived. Crowned with laurels. A cage.
His light has flickered out. His voice is silent.
His body chewed by maggots. And what of
his restless soul? Did he find Ugolino,
to sink with him into Hell? Or is he still
floating through the air?
(We do not know. We know so little.)
…a nice quiet paradise
over the shambles
(Pound, Canto CXVI)
An ancestor of mine
herdsman of Tekoa
held in his burning hand
a loud shrill pipe
On entering town his heart
would flame up red
his words scorch every senseless crime
every whiff of cruelty
His tongue he sharpened
on the black backs of kings and heroes
I am but his late-come descendant
a tender soft-voiced herdsboy
wanting a worthy flock
and penetrating pipe
No fever burns in my pale eyes
No desire in me to scorch the trees
I but laze on riverbanks
staring at clouds and moon and sky
at dusk or in the winter’s heart.
(The Biblical prophet Amos was born in Tekoa — Hungarian original contained in this article)
That first surgery wasn’t one.
There stood mother, all I feared.
After the fall I checked the wound,
And left it in the mirror’s memory.
I never made it all the way round morning.
Sometimes noon would take till midnight.
I hardly dared laugh. And by the time
They extracted all the shards
The shadow was already climbing high
Up the houses and the ten horse-chestnuts.
The evening was as fresh as the scar,
And a few more things no longer mine.
In younger days I sailed Dalmatia’s coast:
Budding islands capped the crest of waves, where now
And then a bird would hover, fixed on prey;
Seaweed-wrapped and slippery, lovely as emeralds in the sun.
When high tide and nightfall took them back, sails
On beat to windward gave them wider berth to slip their trap.
Today my kingdom Is that no-man’s land.
The port is lit for others; me an untamed spirit
Drives wide in the world, and an aching love for life.
Nella mia giovanezza ho navigato
lungo le coste dalmate. Isolotti
a fior d’onda emergevano, ove raro
un uccello sostava intento a prede,
coperti d’alghe, scivolosi, al sole
belli come smeraldi. Quando l’alta
marea e la notte li annullava, vele
sottovento sbandavano più al largo,
per sfuggirne l’insidia. Oggi il mio regno
è quella terra di nessuno. Il porto
accende ad altri i suoi lumi, me al largo
sospinge ancora il non domato spirito,
e della vita il doloroso amore.