Ezra Pound

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

Canto Xlix: For The Seven Lakes - Poem by Ezra Pound

For the seven lakes, and by no man these verses:
Rain; empty river; a voyage,
Fire from frozen cloud, heavy rain in the twilight
Under the cabin roof was one lantern.
The reeds are heavy; bent;
and the bamboos speak as if weeping.

Autumn moon; hills rise about lakes
against sunset
Evening is like a curtain of cloud,
a blurr above ripples; and through it
sharp long spikes of the cinnamon,
a cold tune amid reeds.
Behind hill the monk's bell
borne on the wind.
Sail passed here in April; may return in October
Boat fades in silver; slowly;
Sun blaze alone on the river.

Where wine flag catches the sunset
Sparse chimneys smoke in the cross light

Comes then snow scur on the river
And a world is covered with jade
Small boat floats like a lanthorn,
The flowing water closts as with cold. And at San Yin
they are a people of leisure.

Wild geese swoop to the sand-bar,
Clouds gather about the hole of the window
Broad water; geese line out with the autumn
Rooks clatter over the fishermen's lanthorns,

A light moves on the north sky line;
where the young boys prod stones for shrimp.
In seventeen hundred came Tsing to these hill lakes.
A light moves on the South sky line.

State by creating riches shd. thereby get into debt?
This is infamy; this is Geryon.
This canal goes still to TenShi
Though the old king built it for pleasure

K E I M E N R A N K E I
K I U M A N M A N K E I
JITSU GETSU K O K W A
T A N FUKU T A N K A I

Sun up; work
sundown; to rest
dig well and drink of the water
dig field; eat of the grain
Imperial power is? and to us what is it?

The fourth; the dimension of stillness.
And the power over wild beasts.


Comments about Canto Xlix: For The Seven Lakes by Ezra Pound

  • Fabrizio Frosini (1/29/2016 11:25:00 AM)


    also this Canto has already been posted - as ' Canto 49 ' (Report) Reply

    4 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (6/30/2007 9:32:00 AM)


    This is a truly lovely example of Pound's work in the Chinese tone, and for me it is a superb summary of what I think of as the true ethos of humanity: love of land, lakes, hills, light, hearth, travel, PEACE. The last few lines are ones I have remembered for 50 years and wish all our war gang could come to believe: imperial power is? and to us what is it? (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: sunset, river, autumn, october, water, april, power, rain, light, sky, silver, snow, sun, work, moon, fire, people, wind, alone, rose



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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