Ezra Pound Poem

Salutation the Second

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You were praised, my books,
                        because I had just come from the country;
I was twenty years behind the times
                        so you found an audience ready.
I do not disown you,
                        do not you disown your progeny.

Here they stand without quaint devices,
Here they are with nothing archaic about them.
Observe the irritation in general:

‘Is this’ they say, ‘the nonsense
                        that we expect of poets?’
‘Where is the Picturesque ?’
                        ‘Where is the vertigo of emotion?’
‘No! his first work was the best.’
                        ‘Poor Dear! he has lost his illusions.’

Go, little naked and impudent songs,
Go with a light foot!
(Or with two light feet, if it please you!)
Go and dance shamelessly!
Go with an impertinent frolic!

Greet the grave and the stodgy,
Salute them with your thumbs at your noses.

Here are your bells and confetti.
Go! rejuvenate things!
Rejuvenate even ‘The Spectator.’
                        Go! and make cat calls!
Dance and make people blush,
Dance the dance of the phallus
                        and tell anecdotes of Cybele!
Speak of the indecorous conduct of the Gods!
                            (Tell it to Mr. Strachey)

Ruffle the skirts of prudes,
                        speak of their knees and ankles.
But, above all, go to practical people
                        go! jangle their door-bells!
Say that you do no work
                        and that you will live forever.

The Coming of War: Actaeon


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