Nov 7, 2011

monday musings: other worlds

Today I've decided to share a poem that really stood out to me in my college studies. When I first read it I had to do a double-take on Ezra Pound's name. The poem has a distinct Asian flavor-as well as a feeling on immense age- like it was written several hundreds of years ago. I love it because it is so different from its contemporaries. It reminds me of the fantasy novels I used to read when I was younger, which spoke so eloquently and convincingly of places that didn't exist. This is what I really aim for in my own writing, to paint pictures of worlds that feel both fantastical and completely comfortable to my readers.

Lament of the Frontier Guard
Ezra Pound

By the North Gate, the wind blows full of sand,
Lonely from the beginning of time until now!
Trees fall, the grass goes yellow with autumn.
I climb the towers and towers
to watch out the barbarous land:
Desolate castle, the sky, the wide desert.
There is no wall left to this village.
Bones white with a thousand frosts,
High heaps, covered with trees and grass;
Who brought this to pass?
Who has brought the flaming imperial anger?
Who has brought the army with drums and with kettle-drums?
Barbarous kings.
A gracious spring, turned to blood-ravenous autumn,
A turmoil of wars-men, spread over the middle kingdom,
Three hundred and sixty thousand,
And sorrow, sorrow like rain.
Sorrow to go, and sorrow, sorrow returning,
Desolate, desolate fields,
And no children of warfare upon them,
No longer the men for offence and defence.
Ah, how shall you know the dreary sorrow at the North Gate,
With Rihoku’s name forgotten,
And we guardsmen fed to the tigers.

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