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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.



 


Mine?



 


    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,


Loquitur,



 


    “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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