Identification with The Dead (Sacrifice Of Philistine Vitality), Impersonalization (Psychological Shattering), And Overcoming Of Spirituality Of Beauty Through (Nomadic) Creativity


Three spirits came to me
And drew me apart
To where the olive boughs
Lay stripped upon the ground:
Pale carnage beneath bright mist.

Ezra Pound

Instead of enjoying April as the philistines of every nationality do with babbling vitality, melting hearts and roaring erections, Pound’s lyrical hero gives himself over to the three spirits to pull him apart into identification with dead nature victimized by winter. Instead of praising the “bright mist” by hot tears of spring hope he perceives it as a shroud of corpses of the life’s victims – the poet eccentrically, absurdly refuses to forget about “pale carnage” beneath the surface of life. This depersonalization of the poet’s psyche keeps it intact from the repressive vigor of living imposed on human beings, and instead allows him to keep his creative need alive. Spirituality here is depicted as identification with death through fragmentation.

An Object

This thing that hath a code and not a core,
Hath set acquaintance where might be affections,
And nothing now
Disturbeth his reflections.

Ezra Pound

“An object”, a thing is an identity ready-made for the poet as a member of society, which, in experience registered in this poem, is offered to him with Devil’s resourcefulness in order to occupy him with trying to achieve desirable and predictable effects – recognition, fame and a respectable place within the social hierarchy, in order to distract him from his “anarchic” interests and dedications. “An object” is a human being transformed into a thing, a social cell, a creature oriented on “acquaintances” which can flower into “affections” and nurture the poet’s personality by stabilizing his “reflections” (his narcissistic self-images) and by this helping the poet to make a living. Then, instead of connecting himself with otherness, the lyrical soul becomes an “object”-oriented “object” and personification of the loss amidst social functionality and instrumentalism of heteronomous survival.


Lighthearted I walked into the valley wood
In the time of hyacinths,
Till beauty like a scented cloth
Cast over, stifled me, I was bound
Motionless and faint of breath
By loveliness that is her own eunuch.
Now pass I to the final river
Ignominiously, in a sack, without sound,
As any peeping Turk to the Bosphorus.

Ezra Pound

Spirituality of beauty as a complete self-realization is “stifling” the poet by the posture of a silent and “motionless” admiration. If there could be such a thing as positive suffocation this would be it – “loveliness is her own eunuch”. It made us castrated by absolute plenitude with irresistibly poisonous flavor. After becoming final prisoner of beauty – nothing else is possible except “the final river” (towards death), which becomes the way out, through the back door. Beauty is the ultimate achievement, it is solar narcissist. And if we still want to prolong our life – our way to death, we have to step into ignominy, isolation, miserable solitude and (poetic) muteness. And like “the Bosphorus is for the peeping Turk” we are doomed to seek poetic paths where we are not in life, not in death, but in the enchanted torment, where we will talk in a post-mute, broken (poetic) language. Revenge of beauty is final. We are lost on the roads to our death, and we don’t know what we shall meet at the end, may be, something worse than death. Conversion from being a prisoner of beauty to the barefooted poetic nomadism is a condemnation, and nothing can be done about it.

Forest of hyacinths

Hyacinths in the forest

Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound – 1885 - 1972
Ezra Pound – 1885 – 1972

Ezra Pound in his late years

In “April” spirituality of identification with the dead leads the poet away from life. In “An Object” impersonalization in the form of psychological shattering inseparable from social conformism, distracts the individual being from (poetic) existence. And in “Conversion” the nomadic torments of poetic creativity prevail over the spirituality of beauty.