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In Durance
by Ezra Pound
from Personae (published in 1909 by Faber and Faber)


     (1907)

I am homesick after mine own kind,
Oh I know that there are folk about me, friendly faces,
But I am homesick after mine own kind.

“These sell our pictures”! Oh well,
They reach me not, touch me some edge or that,
But reach me not and all my life’s become
One flame, that reaches not beyond
My heart’s own hearth,
Or hides among the ashes there for thee.
“Thee” ? Oh, “Thee” is who cometh first
Out of mine own soul-kin,
For I am homesick after mine own kind
And ordinary people touch me not.
                                                  And I am homesick
After mine own kind that know, and feel
And have some breath for beauty and the arts.

Aye, I am wistful for my kin of the spirit
And have none about me save in the shadows
When come they, surging of power, “DAEMON,”
“Quasi KALOUN.” S.T. says Beauty is most that, a
          “calling to the soul.”
Well then, so call they, the swirlers out of the mist of my soul,
They that come mewards, bearing old magic.

But for all that, I am homesick after mine own kind
And would meet kindred even as I am,
Flesh-shrouded bearing the secret.
“All they that with strange sadness”
Have the earth in mockery, and are kind to all,
My fellows, aye I know the glory
Of th’ unbounded ones, but ye, that hide
As I hide most the while
And burst forth to the windows only whiles or whiles
For love, or hope, or beauty or for power,
Then smoulder, with the lids half closed
And are untouched by echoes of the world.

Oh ye, my fellows: with the seas between us some be,
Purple and sapphire for the silver shafts
Of sun and spray all shattered at the bows;
And some the hills hold off,
The little hills to east of us, though here we
Have damp and plain to be our shutting in.

And yet my soul sings “Up!” and we are one.
Yea thou, and Thou, and THOU, and all my kin
To whom my breast and arms are ever warm,
For that I love ye as the wind the trees
That holds their blossoms and their leaves in cure
And calls the utmost singing from the boughs
That ‘thout him, save the aspen, were as dumb
Still shade, and bade no whisper speak the birds of how
“Beyond, beyond, beyond, there lies . . . “ 

 

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