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Spring and All: Poem XXI (The Red Wheelbarrow) (1923)

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

In a Station of the Metro (1916)

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

           by Ezra Pound
Lines from part 42 of Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself’ (1855)

This printed and bound book….but the printer and the printing-office
The saints and sages in history….but you yourself?
Sermons and creeds and theology….but the human brain, and what is
    called reason, and what is called love, and what is called life?

Young Sycamore (1927)                                                  This Is Just To Say (1934)

I must tell you                       dividing and waning              I have eaten
this young tree                       sending out                      the plums
whose round and firm trunk            young branches on                that were in
between the wet                       all sides –                      the icebox

pavement and the gutter               hung with cocoons –              and which
(where water                          it thins                         you were probably
is trickling) rises                   till nothing is left of it       saving
bodily                                but two                          for breakfast

into the air with                     eccentric knotted                Forgive me
one undulant                          twigs                            they were delicious
thrust half its height –              bending forward                  so sweet
and then                              hornlike at the top              and so cold
Chicory and Daisies (1917)                                 The Term (1937)

     I                              II                     A rumpled sheet
                                                           of brown paper
Lift your flowers             I saw a child with daisies   about the length
on bitter stems               for weaving into the hair
chicory!                      tear the stems               and apparent bulk
Lift them up                  with her teeth!              of a man was
out of the scorched ground!                                rolling with the
Bear no foliage
but give yourself                                          wind slowly over
wholly to that!                                            and over in
Strain under them                                          the street as
you bitter stems
that no beast eats –                                       a car drove down
and scorn greyness!                                        upon it and
Into the heat with them:                                   crushed it to
luxuriant! sky-blue!                                       the ground. Unlike
The earth cracks and                                       a man it rose
is shrivelled up;                                          again rolling
the wind moans piteously;
the sky goes out                                           with the wind over
if you should fail                                         and over to be as
                                                           it was before.
Spring and All: Poem I (Spring and All) (1923)

By the road to the contagious hospital           Now the grass, tomorrow
under the surge of the blue                      the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast – a cold wind. Beyond, the             One by one objects are defined –
waste of broad, muddy fields                     It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen
                                                 But now the stark dignity of
patches of standing water                        entrance – Still, the profound change
the scattering of tall trees                     has come upon them: rooted, they
                                                 grip down and begin to awaken
All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines –

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches –

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind –
Portrait of a Woman in Bed

There’s my things            There’s brains and blood        Try to help me
drying in the corner:        in there –                      if you want trouble
that blue skirt              my name’s Robitza!              or leave me alone –
joined to the grey shirt –   Corsets                         that ends trouble.
                             can go to the devil –
I’m sick of trouble!         and drawers along with them –   The county physician
Lift the covers              What do I care!                 is a damned fool
if you want me                                               and you
and you’ll see               My two boys?                    can go to hell!
the rest of my clothes –     – they’re keen!
though it would be cold      Let the rich lady               You could have closed the door
lying with nothing on!       care for them –                 when you came in;
                             they’ll beat the school         do it when you go out.
I won’t work                 or                              I’m tired.
and I’ve got no cash.        let them go to the gutter –
What are you going to do     that ends trouble.
about it?
– and no jewelry             This house is empty
(the crazy fools)            isn’t it?
                             Then it’s mine
But I’ve my two eyes         because I need it.
and a smooth face            Oh, I won’t starve
and here’s this! look!       while there’s the Bible
it’s high!                   to make them feed me.
The Widow’s Lament in
Springtime (1921)

Sorrow is my own yard             to go there
where the new grass               and fall into those flowers
flames as it has flamed           and sink into the marsh near
often before but not              them.
with the cold fire
that closes round me this year.
Thirtyfive years
I lived with my husband.
The plumtree is white today
with masses of flowers.
Masses of flowers
load the cherry branches
and color some bushes
yellow and some red
but the grief in my heart
is stronger than they
for though they were my joy
formally, today I notice them
and turn away forgetting.
Today my son told me
that in the meadows,
at the edge of the heavy woods
in the distance, he saw
trees of white flowers.
I feel that I would like
From ‘To a Dog Injured in the Street (1954)     From ‘Asphodel, That Greeny Flower’ (1955)

         The cries of a dying dog               Asphodel
                  are to be blotted out                  has no odor
as best I can                                                      save to the imagination
         René Char                              but it too
                  you are a poet who believes            celebrates the light.
in the power of beauty                                             It is late
         to right all wrongs.                   but an odor
                  I believe it also.                     as from our wedding
With invention and courage                                         has revived for me
         we shall surpass                       and begun to penetrate
                  the pitiful dumb beasts,               into all the crevices
let all men believe it,                                            of my world.
         as you have taught me also
                  to believe it.

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