Io venni in luogo d'ogni luce muto; The stench of wet coal, politicians . . . . . . . . . . e and. . . . . n, their wrists bound to their ankles, Standing bare bum, Faces smeared on their rumps, wide eye on flat buttock, Bush hanging for beard, Addressing crowds through their arse-holes, Addressing the multitudes in the ooze, newts, water-slugs, water-maggots, And with them. . . . . . . r, a scrupulously clean table-napkin Tucked under his penis, and. . . . . . . . . . . m Who disliked colioquial language, stiff-starched, but soiled, collars circumscribing his legs, The pimply and hairy skin pushing over the collar's edge, Profiteers drinking blood sweetened with sh-t, And behind them. . . . . . f and the financiers lashing them with steel wires. And the betrayers of language . . . . . . n and the press gang And those who had lied for hire; the perverts, the perverters of language, the perverts, who have set money-lust Before the pleasures of the senses; howling, as of a hen-yard in a printing-house, the clatter of presses, the blowing of dry dust and stray paper, fretor, sweat, the stench of stale oranges, dung, last cess-pool of the universe, mysterium, acid of sulphur, the pusillanimous, raging; plunging jewels in mud, and howling to find them unstained; sadic mothers driving their daughters to bed with decrepitude, sows eating their litters, and here the placard ΕΙΚΩΝ ΓΗΣ, and here: THE PERSONNEL CHANGES, melting like dirty wax, decayed candles, the bums sinking lower, faces submerged under hams, And in the ooze under them, reversed, foot-palm to foot-palm, hand-palm to hand-palm, the agents provocateurs The murderers of Pearse and MacDonagh, Captain H. the chief torturer; The petrified turd that was Verres, bigots, Calvin and St. Clement of Alexandria! black-beetles, burrowing into the sh-t, The soil a decrepitude, the ooze full of morsels, lost contours, erosions. Above the hell-rot the great arse-hole, broken with piles, hanging stalactites, greasy as sky over Westminster, the invisible, many English, the place lacking in interest, last squalor, utter decrepitude, the vice-crusaders, fahrting through silk, waving the Christian symbols, . . . . . . . . frigging a tin penny whistle, Flies carrying news, harpies dripping sh-t through the air. The slough of unamiable liars, bog of stupidities, malevolent stupidities, and stupidities, the soil living pus, full of vermin, dead maggots begetting live maggots, slum owners, usurers squeezing crab-lice, pandars to authori pets-de-loup, sitting on piles of stone books, obscuring the texts with philology, hiding them under their persons, the air without refuge of silence, the drift of lice, teething, and above it the mouthing of orators, the arse-belching of preachers. And Invidia, the corruptio, fretor, fungus, liquid animals, melted ossifications, slow rot, fretid combustion, chewed cigar-butts, without dignity, without tragedy . . . . .m Episcopus, waving a condom full of black-beetles, monopolists, obstructors of knowledge. obstructors of distribution.
"Canto XIV" by Ezra Pound, from The Cantos of Ezra Pound, copyright © 1934, 1937, 1940, 1948, 1956, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1968 by Ezra Pound. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
Ezra Pound is generally considered the poet most responsible for defining and promoting a modernist aesthetic in poetry.
Date Published: 1934-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/canto-xiv