Ezra Pound

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

Before Sleep


The lateral vibrations caress me,
They leap and caress me,
They work pathetically in my favour,
They seek my financial good.

She of the spear stands present.
The gods of the underworld attend me, O Annubis,
These are they of thy company.
With a pathetic solicitude they attend me;
Undulant,
Their realm is the lateral courses.


Light!
I am up to follow thee, Pallas.
Up and out of their caresses.
You were gone up as a rocket,
Bending your passages from right to left and from left to right
In the flat projection of a spiral.
The gods of drugged sleep attend me,
Wishing me well;
I am up to follow thee, Pallas.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Czyka Tumaliuan (1/16/2008 6:28:00 AM)

    In addition, he doesnt want 'sympathy'. He accepts that he should be looked down with pity for he exchanged wisdom for money. (Report) Reply

  • Czyka Tumaliuan (1/16/2008 6:27:00 AM)

    REPLY TO MR. HAGER: Apparently, the persona in the poem is a person who has a 'side job' that helps him in his financial needs. However, the persona seems to be unhappy with such work as it is not intellectually fulfilling. Thus, he seeks Pallas in his sleep...since it's only there that he will meet wisdom...only in his dreams.. I like the poem. (Report) Reply

  • Stanton Hager (8/20/2006 8:40:00 AM)

    For 'pathetic/pathetically' read sympathetic/sympathetically.

    This INVOCATION poem curiously invokes the wrong
    goddess. Pallas (Athena) governs wisdom, war, and the
    practical arts. For a good night's sleep, one might better
    invoke Nyx, mother of night, or her son Hypnos, god of
    sleep....Words & phrases like 'rocket' and 'flat projection
    of a spiral' fail to 'modernize' the poem....Has some
    pretty lines but some awkward ones, too. Not among
    Pound's best. (Report) Reply

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