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Sestina: Altaforte Analysis

Author: Poetry of Ezra Pound Type: Poetry Views: 370

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LOQUITUR: En Bertans de Born.Dante Alighieri put this man in hell

for that he was a stirrer up of strife.Eccovi! Judge ye! Have I dug

him up again?The scene is at his castle, Altaforte."Papiols" is his

jongleur."The Leopard," the device of Richard Coeur de Lion.IDamn it all! all this our South stinks peace.

You whoreson dog, Papiols, come!Let's to music!

I have no life save when the swords clash.

But ah! when I see the standards gold, vair, purple, opposing

And the broad fields beneath them turn crimson,

Then howl I my heart nigh mad with rejoicing.IIIn hot summer I have great rejoicing

When the tempests kill the earth's foul peace,

And the lightning from black heav'n flash crimson,

And the fierce thunders roar me their music

And the winds shriek through the clouds mad, opposing,

And through all the riven skies God's swords clash.IIIHell grant soon we hear again the swords clash!

And the shrill neighs of destriers in battle rejoicing,

Spiked breast to spiked breat opposing!

Better one hour's stour than a year's peace

With fat boards, bawds, wine and frail music!

Bah! there's no wine like the blood's crimson!IVAnd I love to see the sun rise blood-crimson.

And I watch his spears through the dark clash

And it fills all my heart with rejoicing

And pries wide my mouth with fast music

When I see him so scorn and defy peace,

His long might 'gainst all darkness opposing.VThe man who fears war and squats opposing

My words for stour, hath no blood of crimson

But is fit only to rot in womanish peace

Far from where worth's won and the swords clash

For the death of such sluts I go rejoicing;

Yea, I fill all the air with my music.VIPapiols, Papiols, to the music!

There's no sound like to swords swords opposing,

No cry like the battle's rejoicing

When our elbows and swords drip the crimson

And our charges 'gainst "The Leopard's" rush clash.

May God damn for ever all who cry "Peace!"VIIAnd let the music of the swords make them crimson!

Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash!

Hell blot black for always the thought "Peace!"


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

Pound, here, tries to capture the mind and ethos of medieval warlike captains and nobility. He summons Papiols to start the poem which is a glorified chant or a powerful very war cry. Pound is not this warrior- man. He uses this persona directly to give reader how its like in minds of commanders of those times. The striking use of rhyme and alliteration gives the poem a medieval-song-like quality and it may very well be read aloud. Actually its better to read this poem aloud. The form, sestina is a medieval form. Pound once again uses the form to create a direct bond with the modern reader. This means that he's actually revitalizing the form to create a sensibility and continuity of historical conditions. Wars with warlike minds. Of Pound's time. This is not a nostalgic trip to past. This poem easily eludes from that category. Pound wants to give a contemporary meaning and life to this form, so to create something eternal for all times. Altaforte is what its like in the minds of warriors, at anytime.

| Posted on 2015-07-27 | by Nef039i

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