Saturday, June 14, 2008

To Be A War Protestor - Pound

Imagine if you lived your life dedicated to peace. I mean it's bad enough I suppose that people die of diseases we should have invested money in to prevent. People die every day of cancer or AIDS. Babies die in their crib of sudden death syndrome. For young people to be blown to pieces on the other side of the world, away from their families and people that love them seems a cruel joke of sorts. Yet the brave put their lives on the line for us, to keep us free or so our government tells us. To be against the war, to not want to hear Charlie Gibson tell us about another 40 dead while we are making Chicken Ala King makes us unpatriotic? I don't have a child in combat. The war doesn't really touch my life other than perhaps increasing gas prices. I never blink an eye when a reporter barks about another $.25 gallon. Europeans have been paying far more than Americans for gas that's why they drive those little tiny cars. But to be at war and think that we shouldn't feel a dent in our daily lives while thousands of our youngest and bravest are living in hell day in and day out while their families live on the edge of pain waiting for the call, wondering if their house will have to be wheel chair accessible seems just selfish. If gas were $20 a gallon would we want our children home, our 19 year old army children safe?

I tend to think supporting the war is unpatriotic. We seem safe. We've beaten down the enemy whoever they are. We have poured buckets and buckets of cash, cash better spent sending those dedicated brave souls to college at a problem that never seems to end. The middle east has been at war for what seems like forever and things there just don't change. The only difference now? Now Americans are the new target.

Where does this bring me? I was wondering this last week when Best Friend mentions Ezra Pound and that she had read an article about a man who knew Pound at St. Elizabeths mental hospital in Washington, DC.

Pound protested the war. He was in Italy at the time and he met Moussilini and he liked him. They ate together, they explored the Italian countryside together and he considered him a friend. When Pound heard from his American friends in Washington that they planned on invading Italy and that the US press couldn't say a pleasant thing about the Italian government, Pound went on radio to protest the path his country was taking. He talked about the power of the Federal Reserve Bank and he talked and talked and talked about war being a money machine.

You have to understand where pound was coming from. He was born in the US was raised on the east coast but he spent most of his life in Europe. He went to Europe looking for Yeats. He was a big fan of Yeats' poetry and he set out to find the man behind the prose and find him he did. He worked as Yeats' office secretary, drank with him, and influenced his poetry. He believed as Yeats did in mystical powers and the power of positive thinking. But Pound didn't stop after meeting Yeats. He sought out T. S. Eliot and made him his friend and they spoke of nothing ordinary. They talked of the war, of Eliot's work with the Nazis and in all this Pound was living the life most of us would want to live, this huge life about his passion. He wrote and he lived and he traveled Europe until he'd meet Hemingway. He asked Hemingway to teach him to box (wasn't Hemingway just the stud we all wanted?) and later in the Moveable Feast, Hemingway would refer to Pound, "I couldn't ever teach him to jab." He also befriended William Carlos Williams and later Robert Frost.


Ezra Pound

No man hath dared to write this thing as yet,
And yet I know, how that the souls of all men great
At times pass athrough us,
And we are melted into them, and are not
Save reflexions of their souls.
Thus am I Dante for a space and am
One Francois Villon, ballad-lord and thief,
Or am such holy ones I may not write
Lest blasphemy be writ against my name;
This for an instant and the flame is gone.

’Tis as in midmost us there glows a sphere
Translucent, molten gold, that is the “I”
And into this some form projects itself:
Christus, or John, or eke the Florentine;
And as the clear space is not if a form’s
Imposed thereon,
So cease we from all being for the time,
And these, the Masters of the Soul, live on.

So, after all that living, after being with other cultures (he had a fascinating with Chinese and Japanese poetry) after supping with Hemingway and running with the bulls and waiting in the garden with Yeats for the faeries to show up he made a crucial error. He spoke against war. He didn't say Americans were horrible people. He didn't encourage anyone to kill Americans because you see he was a pacifist. He didn't want anyone to die from a gunshot. He saw the ravages of war in Europe and saw ancient cities crumble with the drop of a bomb. Imagine a statue in an American city but it's not a few hundreds years old, its a thousand years old and is instantly destroyed by a bomb. He raged out about men killing men and for this, the Americans sought him out in Italy and they found him. They moved him to Pisa and put him in a cage without food for 12 days. Troops urinated on him. After 12 days he was put in a tent and then later flown back to DC where he was tried for treason and put in St. Elizabeths mental institution. You would think that would be enough. You would think he'd never write again. When I have a bad hair day I can't find the energy to write poetry but when you live a life that large and are confined to a cell I guess that motivates you to want to set a few things straight.

Pound went on to write from his insane prison. He wrote and he wrote and he wrote. Many famous and infamous men came to his defense. Frost wrote to the government on a weekly basis for almost a year. Twelve years later he was set free and warned by the government that if he were to so much as raise an eyebrow in regards to a political issue he'd be back eating gruel and living with the insane. He died in 1972 a recluse. And today men are dying in war again and although we can speak out on the war how many of us feel heard and how many of us wonder if speaking out against the war makes us sound without love of our country or respect for the people who fight there?

The Girl

The tree has entered my hands,

The sap has ascended my arms,
The tree has grown in my breast-
The branches grow out of me, like arms.

Tree you are,
Moss you are,
You are violets with wind above them.
A child - so high - you are,
And all this is folly to the world.


Live today unafraid and full hope. Do something today that helps you live that bigger life. Know that your voice is heard and that the world will only edit what you allow them to edit. If you want peace, then write to someone running for public office or someone who already holds that office and let them know you are tired of men dying. If you wind up in St. Elizbeths, perhaps we can share a room.

Thanks for sharing time with me here. If you are interested in my art, you can find me at under the seller name POETSUMMER. You can also find me on the evil that is Ebay under the same seller name. I also have my own Ecommerce site at You can always reach me at Peace, Carrie.

1 comment:


Piú giù, in fondo alla Tuscolana...
!?...passavo per un saluto!