* NOTICE: Mr. Center's Wall is on indefinite hiatus. Got something to say about it? Click HERE and type.

Friday, December 10, 2010


The Poet
by T.E. Hulme
Over a large table, smooth, he leaned in ecstasies,
In a dream.
He had been to woods, and talked and walked with trees
Had left the world
And brought back round globes and stone images
Of gems, colours, hard and definite.
With these he played in a dream,
On a smooth table.


Further Instructions
by Ezra Pound
COME, my songs, let us express our baser passions.
Let us express our envy for the man with a steady job
and no worry about the future.
You are very idle, my songs;
I fear you will come to a bad end.
You stand about the streets.
You loiter at the corners and bus-stops
You do next to nothing at all.
You do not even express our inner nobilities;
You will come to a very bad end.
And I? I have gone half-cracked.
I have talked to you so much
that I almost see you about me,
Insolent little beasts! Shameless! Devoid of clothing!
But you, newest song of the lot,
You are not old enough to have done much mischief.
I will get you a green coat out of China
With dragons worked upon it.
I will get you the scarlet silk trousers
From the statue of the infant Christ at Santa Maria Novella;
Lest they say we are lacking in taste,
Or that there is no caste in this family. 


  1. I don't know if this is the comparison you're looking for, but I'll give it a shot.

    Both of them seem to treat their ideas as something that exist independent from them. Yes, they can dress them up, as Pound does, or play with thim, as Hulme does, but they're almost a sort of inspiration that they seem to think is beyond their own creative powers and that they must acquire elsewhere.

    Also, I just have to say that I love the wordplay with songs/sons in Pound's poem. Cool idea.

  2. While I love great photography, sometimes I doubt the overall skill involved as thousands of pictures a snapped and only one or two chosen. While I really Pound, he seems a little like this--VERY prolific--while Hulme only ever managed a few, but those few are masterpieces.

    As far as the art work preexisting, this is the approach many artists have--the most famous being Michaelangelo, who looked at a giant piece of marble with the intent to "free" the figure within.

  3. I agree with James that they feel their ideas come from outside sources. However, I don't know that they go nearly as far as Michaelangelo's freeing the figure in the marble.

    Jean-Luc Godard said, "It's not where you take things from -- it's where you take them to." I think that's what these poems have in common. Both Hulme and Pound are admitting that their inspiration is exterior. Hulme asserts that a poet (indeed, all poets) find their ideas outside of their world (their individual mind) and to create their art they play with the ideas. Pound's songs are his poems. He is disgusted by his old poems (perhaps they were getting monotonous?) and when the newest one comes along (which happens to be the very poem we are reading) he wants to give it the finest of garnishes -- he then blatantly expresses where he is taking them from and to whom (or where) they are going.

  4. Well, it is a business, so I can't blame a guy for trying to write a lot in order to make some money.

  5. He made the money. Kinda reminds me of Samuel Johnson who said something like if some writer says he's writing for reason other money, he's lying. And I don't think Hulme was exactly rich.

    Ben -- I've always loved this poem by Pound, because, I guess, I can relate with how he feels. I look back at my old stuff, and back when I wrote it, I loved it. Now, honestly, I'm sick of it, because almost all of it just stinks. My new stuff is so much better and gets all the attention--the special outfit with the dragon embroidery, and so on. I think it's less an issue of monotony than Pound has moved on, improved, and grown apart from the old stuff.

  6. I can dig it. Perhaps I was projecting my feelings of my own work onto him. Everything I wrote last year (and there was quite a bit) started to sound the same, and I think I even wrote some of the same stuff twice.

  7. I've got that problem with my characters. I can change the setting and conflict forever, but my protags almost always turn out to be the same person. Frustrating monotony!


Be sure to subscribe to the thread to receive discussion updates.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...