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Famam Librosque Cano
by Ezra Pound
from A Lume Spento (1908)

Your songs?

              Oh! The little mothers

Will sing them in the twilight,

And when the night

Shrinketh the kiss of the dawn

That loves and kills,

What time the swallow fills

Her note, then the little rabbit folk

That some call children,

Such as are up and wide,

Will laugh your verses to each other,

Pulling on their shoes for the day’s business,

Serious child business that the world

Laughs at, and grows stale;

Such is the tale

—Part of it—of thy song-life.




    A book is known by them that read

    That same. Thy public in my screed

    Is listed. Well! Some score years hence

    Behold mine audience,

    As we had seen him yesterday.


    Scrawny, be-spectacled, out at heels,

Such an one as the world feels

A sort of curse against its guzzling

And its age-lasting wallow for red greed

And yet, full speed

Though it should run for its own getting,

Will turn aside to sneer at

’Cause he hath

No coin, no will to snatch the aftermath

Of Mammon.

Such an one as women draw away from

For the tobacco ashes scattered on his coat

And sith his throat

Shows razor’s unfamiliarity

And three days’ beard;


Such an one picking a ragged

Backless copy from the stall,

Too cheap for cataloguing,



    “Ah-eh! the strange rare name .  .  .

“Ah-eh! He must be rare if even I have not .  .  .”

And lost mid-page

Such age

As his pardons the habit,

He analyzes form and thought to see

How I ’scaped immortality.



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