Ezra Pound

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

Lament Of The Frontier Guard - Poem by Ezra Pound

By the North Gate, the wind blows full of sand,
Lonely from the beginning of time until now!
Trees fall, the grass goes yellow with autumn.
I climb the towers and towers
to watch out the barbarous land:
Desolate castle, the sky, the wide desert.
There is no wall left to this village.
Bones white with a thousand frosts,
High heaps, covered with trees and grass;
Who brought this to pass?
Who has brought the flaming imperial anger?
Who has brought the army with drums and with kettle-drums?
Barbarous kings.
A gracious spring, turned to blood-ravenous autumn,
A turmoil of wars - men, spread over the middle kingdom,
Three hundred and sixty thousand,
And sorrow, sorrow like rain.
Sorrow to go, and sorrow, sorrow returning,
Desolate, desolate fields,
And no children of warfare upon them,
No longer the men for offence and defence.
Ah, how shall you know the dreary sorrow at the North Gate,
With Rihoku's name forgotten,
And we guardsmen fed to the tigers.

By Rihaku. [Li Po?]


Comments about Lament Of The Frontier Guard by Ezra Pound

  • Melikhaya Zagagana (12/6/2014 4:44:00 AM)


    There was an English translation in this before him, and it sounds better than this. (Report) Reply

    (9/27/2017 3:41:00 PM)

    At least be able to name your sources if you are so determined to miss the point of the artistry of this translation.

    0 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Melikhaya Zagagana (12/6/2014 4:42:00 AM)


    Its not like Ezra gave this poem a new face, it is the same as Li Po wrote it. I just wonder why he thought i would read better if he wrote it again. (Report) Reply

    (9/27/2017 3:40:00 PM)

    This has a totally different character to a direct translation from the Chinese. It is brought into the context of the ongoing Great War and benefits from the rhythms and grit of Pound's style.

  • (8/9/2005 11:02:00 AM)


    Isn't it beautiful when a true poet translates another poet, thank you, Ezra! (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: sorrow, autumn, anger, lonely, spring, children, rain, wind, sky, tiger, tree, child



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



Famous Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  2. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  3. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  4. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  5. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  6. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  7. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  8. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  9. Television
    Roald Dahl
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
[Report Error]