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The Garden -- Ezra Pound

Many thanks to Kuldeep Amarnath for suggesting this poem, which I hadn't read
before:
(Poem #191) The Garden
Like a skein of loose silk blown against a wall
She walks by the railing of a path in Kensington Gardens,
And she is dying piece-meal
    of a sort of emotional anaemia.

And round about there is a rabble
Of the filthy, sturdy, unkillable infants of the very poor.
They shall inherit the earth.

In her is the end of breeding.
Her boredom is exquisite and excessive.
She would like some one to speak to her,
And is almost afraid that I
    will commit that indiscretion.
-- Ezra Pound
Another lovely little Ezra Pound vignette - though not as moving as The River
Merchant's Wife, nor as elegant and concise as And The Days Are Not Full Enough
[1], it nevertheless captures Pound's poetic ethos to a nicety.

What I find most interesting about this poem is the fact that while it's clearly
an imagist poem, there's an almost complete absence of traditional poetic images
in it. Indeed, after the (beautiful) first line, the words are matter-of-fact,
direct, and not a little harsh [2]. And yet... the overall effect is delicate,
clean, and wonderfully perceptive.

If The River Merchant's Wife is a romantic [3] canvas, The Garden is a
silhouette or a thumbnail sketch - a few vivid strokes of the artist's
brush/pen, and the portrait is complete.

thomas.

[1] Both of which have been featured on this mailing list in the past - see
http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/
[2] Over-eager critics (and there are always plenty of them around) may find
hints of incipient Fascism in the second stanza; me, I think that's reading too
much into a line which (imho) merely serves as a contrasting backdrop for the
central portrait.
[3] Once again, do note the absence of capitalization - the poem may be
romantic, but Romantic it certainly is not.

56 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

GunitsIcedBaby said...

How would you paraphrase "the garden"? I just don't get what its saying

Ros said...

The poem means what it says. To paraphrase it is to kill it. Read it very carefully and bring to it your own associations with the words used. You and the poet should meet about half way.

Anonymous said...

h

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I would have appreciated more in the way of analyzing this poem. It is in your motto that you delve deeply into poetry, but I have yet to find an example of such.

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