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Ezra Loomis Pound (1885-1972)

A Pact


              1I make truce with you, Walt Whitman --
              2I have detested you long enough.
              3I come to you as a grown child
              4Who has had a pig-headed father;
              5I am old enough now to make friends.
              6It was you that broke the new wood,
              7Now is a time for carving.
              8We have one sap and one root --
              9Let there be commerce between us.

Notes

1] Herbert Bergman, "Ezra Pound and Walt Whitman," American Literature 27 (1955-56): 56-61, transcribes an unpublished article by Pound, "What I Feel About Walt Whitman" (Feb. 1, 1909), which includes the following comments:

He Is America. His crudity is an exceding great stench, but it is America .... He is disgusting. He is an excedingly nauseating pill, but he acomplishes his mission.
I honor him for he prophesied me while I can only recognize him as a forebear of whom I ought to be proud.
As for Whitman, I read him (in many parts) with acute pain, but when I write of certain things I find myself using his rythms.
Mentaly I am a Whitman who has learned to wear a colar and a dress shirt (although at times inimical to both) .... And, to be frank, Whitman is to my fatherland ... what Dante is to Italy ...

make truce with you: "make a pact with you" in 1916.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Ezra Pound, "Contemporania," Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 2.1 (April 1913): 6. See also Ezra Pound, Lustra (London: Elkin Mathews, 1916) 17. PS 3531 O82L8 1916 Robarts Library. Ezra Pound's Poetry and Prose: Contributions to Periodicals, prefaced and arranged by Lea Baechler, A. Walton Litz, and James Longenbach (New York and London: Garland, 1991), I (1902-1914): 137. PS 3531 O82A6 1991 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1913
Publication date note: See Gallup C76
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/4/15

Form: Free Verse


Other poems by Ezra Loomis Pound