Ezra Pound Poem

Abu Salammamm⁠—A Song of Empire

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Being the sort of poem I would write if King George V should
have me chained to the fountain before Buckingham Palace,
and should give me all the food and women I wanted.
To my brother in chains Bonga-Bonga.

Great is King George the Fifth,
                        for he has chained me to this fountain;
   He feeds me with beef-bones and wine.
Great is King George the Fifth-
His palace is white like marble,
His palace has ninety-eight windows,
His palace is like a cube cut in thirds,
It is he who has slain the Dragon
                          and released the maiden Andromeda.
Great is King George the Fifth;
For his army is legion,
His army is a thousand and forty-eight soldiers
                      with red cloths about their buttocks,
And they have red faces like bricks.
Great is the King of England and greatly to be feared,
For he has chained me to this fountain;
He provides me with women and drinks.
Great is King George the Fifth
                      and very resplendent is this fountain.
It is adorned with young gods riding upon dolphins
And its waters are white like silk.
Great and Lofty is this fountain;
And seated upon it is the late Queen, Victoria,
The Mother of the great king, in a hoop-skirt,
       Like a woman heavy with child.

Oh may the king live forever!
Oh may the king live for a thousand years!
For the young prince is foolish and headstrong;
He plagues me with jibes and sticks,
And when he comes into power
He will undoubtedly chain someone else to this fountain,
And my glory will
Be at an end.

Canto V


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