Treasure Island

Ezra Pound

(30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972 / Hailey / Idaho)

Alf’s Eighth Bit


Vex not thou the banker's mind
(His what?) with a show of sense,
Vex it not, Willie, his mind,
Or pierce its pretence
On the supposition that it ever
Was other, or that this cheerful giver
Will give, save to the blind.

Come not anear the dark-browed sophist
Who on the so well-paid ground
Will cheerfully tell you a fist is no fist,
Come not here
With 2 and 2 making 4 in reason,
Knowest thou not the truth is never in season
In these quarters or Fleet St.?

In his eye there is death, I mean the banker's,
In his purse there is deceit,
It is he who buys gold-braid for the swankers
And gives you Australian iced rabbits' meat
In place of the roast beef of Britain,
And leaves you a park bench to sit on
If you git off the Embankment.

This is the kind of tone and Solemnity
That used to be used on the young,
My old man got no indemnity
But he swaller'd his tongue.
Like all his class was told to hold it in those days,
To mind their ‘p’s’ and their ‘q’s’ and their ways
An' be thankful for occasional holidays.

I don't quite see the joke any more,
Or why we should stand to attention
And lick the dirt off the floor
In the hope of honourable mention
From a great employer like Selfridge
Or a buyer of space in the papers.
I'm getting too old for such capers.

Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010

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