Paradise (pt.4)

pound-by-gaudier-brzeska-ca-1916

(and in London,
which disgraced itself,
and he left later,
singing…)

O London town’s a town of stink,
A town of Wells and Bennett
Where once old Shaw has said “’tis so”
No man dares speak again’ it.

A man may labour 20 years
I’ th’ vineyard of the min’
But the grapes o’ filthy London town
They make a bitter wine.

A man may labour 30 years
I’ th’ brickyard of the soul
Or make as grand a difference
By pissin’ in a hole.

O London town, O London town,
I’ll see thee never more
Till all thy murdered artists march
Triumphant home from war,

Till all thy streets be paved wi’ gold
Beneath an azure sky,
And Bloomsbury be buried
And the Lakes have all gang dry.

 

 

Image: portrait of Ezra Pound by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, ca. 1915. This image is unprotected by copyright in the United States.

Pound came to London in 1908 to make his literary fortune, and make it he did. In the winter of 1920-21, he left London, more or less for good.

Arnold Bennett is purportedly the “Mr. Nixon” of Pound’s early long poem Hugh Selwyn Mauberly (1920), who has this sage advice for an up-and-coming fellow:

Despite his mythologizing of the persona of passionate artiste, careless of reputation and the current styles–one E.P., and who ever could that be?–Pound was, of course, an expert in the art of reputation-mongering.

Pound had little use for the Bloomsbury group; to be fair, they had little use for him. He had perhaps less use for Wordsworth: “a silly old sheep with a genius… for imagisme, for a presentation of natural detail, wild-fowl bathing in a hole in the ice, etc., and this talent … he buried in a desert of bleatings.

His disdain for London, his loathing of the waste of the first World War, that at least was genuine. Whatever it eventually became

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