Pound, Waller and The Wonder Breath

“Oh!” ( the mouth open-wide, a “wonder-breath” – “Ah! – “Go!” – (Allen Ginsberg & Peter Orlovsky re Ezra Pound & Edmund Waller) – 1979 – Photograph by Desdemone Bardin

AG: Well, if you..   I ‘d like to read that whole thing [Ezra Pound’s “Envoi“] once in..  just through, to get the variance from one stanza to another, because it seems that it’s surging, a very delicate surge from stanza to stanza that really concludes in a nice way – and it’s great music. In fact, why don’t we do it together?   this one.. … why don’t we do the Waller first and then this, see how this sounds – just..  the main thing is to just follow the commas and we’ll probably wind up in the same spot, same time.  “Song” – we’ve got it? – page three-oh-five – (remembering that he’s got these short and long, and, at the very end, dig?,  – “Then…” – they’ve got on page three-oh-six – “Then die! that she/The common fate of all things rare/ May read in thee”. (that’s the really long one, so a big long breath for that). So..

[At approximately seventy-one minutes in, Allen and the class read Waller’s poem, “Song”, (“Go, lovely rose”) in unison, followed by – (page one-thousand-and-six) – Ezra Pound’s “Envoi” (“Go dumb-born book”), likewise in unison]

“..Might, in new ages, gain her worshippers,/ When our two dusts with Waller’s shall be laid,/Siftings on siftings in oblivion,/ Till change hath broken down/ All things save Beauty alone.”

Well, that’s really beautiful – da, da-da da – it’s funny the way he changes it from ..if you get that..there’s the first couple of lines of his stanzas of  “Go, dumb-born book/Tell me that sang me once that song of Lawes”  to “Tell her that sheds/ Such treasure in the air”, “Tell her that goes/ With song upon her lips/ But sings not out the song..”  – It’s so pretty! – how do you deal with it, except…
Now, if you wanted to do something like that it would be..not so hard, actually.. so pretty, It’s attractive. Once you get that… See, what it is, it’s like a… (William) Blake has  “Ah, sunflower!/weary of time”,  here we have “Go, lovely rose” or “Go, dumb-born book”, or “Oh, rose thou art sick” – it’s that first – Ah! –  wonder-breath, sort of, that you get out and then you continue. You know, a breath of wonder, and then a rest, and then naming what it is, and then making a thought about it afterward – “Oh, great big boy!” – “what giant muscles you have got in this circus”,  or whatever..”  “Oh“,   it’s a natural cadence, it just comes ordinarily, naturally too – in moments of hushed reverence, that kind of cadence comes directly,  at the deepest moment (you know, like when you’re most appreciative, most in, most with it, that kind of cadence comes).

So that’s why I think it’s worth studying and analysis, partly to recognize it, so that you’ll recognize it when it comes to you normally..when you recognize it when it comes to you naturally, when it comes to you in a natural situation, when a landscape, or a love match, or.. (at) a dinner ..no, that wouldn’t be it-  but some moment where awareness comes naturally, then, you recognize the cadence as the fit cadence for a poem, when it comes out of your own mouth. this cadence or any other… So we had… That was Waller.

{Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately seventy minutes in and concluding at approximately  seventy-six minutes in] 

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