Ezra Pound

March 26, 2017 Commerce

Nathan Hubschman Nathan Hubschman Ezra Pound Response: “The Tree” by Ezra Pound is about how Pound identifies with the tree-like state in which the nymph, Daphne, of Greek myth finds herself in order to escape Apollo. Pound begins the poem explaining how he was a “tree amid the wood” meaning a changed being amid a familiar yet under-perceived environment. He likens this form to the myth of Apollo who chases Daphne until she asks the god, Peneus, to change her into a tree.

Even though she is transformed into a “laurel”, which happens to be the Greek word for Daphne, Apollo is still able to recognize her by the inner-beauty of the tree before him. He then claims the tree as his own, just as he would if Daphne was still in her nymph body. Only then, does Daphne understand that it was not her physical beauty that Apollo was chasing, but just her essence. In the poem’s last lines, Pound indicates an understanding that there are many things one cannot perceive unless an inner stillness is achieved.

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He uses a tree as his metaphor, because it is a living thing whose nature gives it the ability to absorb feelings that perhaps does not come as naturally to busy, complicated humans. “Nathless I have been a tree amid the wood and many a new thing understood that was rank folly to my head before. ”  The tree metaphor may also represent knowledge, just as it did in the bible’s as the tree of knowledge. “Knowing the truth of things unseen before,” Pound states just as Adam and Eve understood things they did not know before after they ate an apple from the tree of knowledge.

Only then did they comprehend the bigger picture, so to speak. The title of the poem, “The Tree”, does not tell the reader much about what the poem could be about other than a tree. When I first looked at the title, I believed it to be about his devotion to trees. Ezra Pound seems to have a love for nature, or at least a connection to it because he references nature in many of his other poems. Ezra Pound’s general view on walt whitman is seen in his poem “A Pact”. Pound is known for being similar to Whitman in style and views most of the time and would often relate him as his spiritual father. Nonetheless, he till viewed Whitman as an “artistic barbarian” as stated in Pound’s essay “What I Feel About Walt Whitman. ” His feelings toward Whitman were ambivalent and he would frequently comment both negatively and positively about him. “I come to you as a grown child who has had a pig-headed father; I am old enough now to make new friends. ” These two lines in the poem explain how Pound has now matured and is ready to set aside differences with his “pig-headed father”, Whitman. It also implies that Pound feels mature enough as a poet in his own right to compose free of the guidance of the great poets who preceded him.

He then says, “It was you that broke the new wood, Now is a time for carving. ” “New wood” is a metaphor for free-verse poetry, which Whitman brought to popularity and the carving is Pound’s take on cleaning up and remaking free-verse as a whole. The last two lines give the reader an understanding on how Ezra Pound believes Whitman and himself to be so similar that they have “one sap and one root” and that he wants there to be “commerce between them” or sharing of ideas. The title “A Pact” reveals that Pound is ready for changes in his life that will better him.

His use of the words “pig-headed father” characterizes Whitman’s crudity, but also tells that because of his own stubbornness, Pound cannot accept some of their differences. “A Pact” contains no rhyme or patterns, once again using the free-verse poetry for which Walt Whitman was famous. “The Picture” by Ezra Pound is about a picture of a woman who has died. The first and last identical lines are, “The eyes of this dead lady speak to me. ” This repetition makes me believe that he did not know who the lady was, but he feels a haunting connection to her somehow.

Pound recognizes a passion in the woman that is so strong, it is conveyed even from a two-dimensional image of her. This must have meant that she moves Pound in a way he has experienced before. His desire to feel this emotion again is no less just because she is dead. By repeating the first line at the end of the poem, Pound drives home the strength of his feeling for the woman considering that the entire poem is only four lines in total. The title does not give much away about the poem except that it is about a picture.

Nevertheless, it does tell that the picture means something to Pound because he titled it “The Picture”, not “A Picture” which would probably be about pictures in general. Ezra Pound reveals his emotional side in this poem and demonstrates his passion and perception of unspoken language. Ezra Pound explains his view on marriage in his poem, “The Altar”. He says in the first line “Let us build here an exquisite friendship. ” The exquisite friendship is a symbol for marriage and the altar is the place where that marriage begins. He goes on to call it “a place of wonder”, because it is the place where the everlasting bond is consecrated.

The altar is holy ground where God makes two people’s love for each other permanent and lawful. The title of this poem tells that Pound has thoughts on marriage and the formalities of the action of getting married. He feels strongly on the traditional use of the altar as the place of marriage. He uses imagery by making the altar the actual transformation of two people into one. Once again Ezra Pound does not include any rhythm or rhyme, like most of his other poems. By writing this poem Pound is further expressing his strong views on love and the things that come along with it. Ezra Pound- The Tree

I stood still and was a tree amid the wood, Knowing the truth of things unseen before; Of Daphne and the laurel bow And that god-feasting couple old that grew elm-oak amid the wold. ‘Twas not until the gods had been Kindly entreated, and been brought within Unto the hearth of their heart’s home That they might do this wonder thing; Nathless I have been a tree amid the wood And many a new thing understood That was rank folly to my head before. Ezra Pound- A Pact I make a pact with you, Walt Whitman – I have detested you long enough. I come to you as a grown child Who has had a pig-headed father;

I am old enough now to make friends. It was you that broke the new wood, Now is a time for carving. We have one sap and one root – Let there be commerce between us. Ezra Pound- The Picture | The eyes of this dead lady speak to me,For here was love, was not to be drowned out. And here desire, not to be kissed away. The eyes of this dead lady speak to me. | Ezra Pound- The Altar | Let us build here an exquisite friendship,The flame, the autumn, and the green rose of loveFought out their strife here, ’tis a place of wonder;Where these have been, meet ’tis, the ground is holy. |


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