Light shining upon no substance
October 27, 2014
Basil Bunting (1900-85) was a late modernist poet and disciple of Ezra Pound, and recognizable as English just by his name. His politics leaned towards Pound’s, though not all the way; this may account somewhat for his current unpopularity. He’s certainly not a major poet, but I find many of his poems beautiful–a kind of spartan musicality. The style, especially the half-rhymes, remind me of Yeats, and of course the later Yeats was influenced by Pound; so perhaps it’s finally time for me to read the old fascist. He wrote a number of books of odes; this is Ode: 36:
See! Their verses are laidas mosaic gold to goldgold to lapis lazuliwhite marble to porphyrystone shouldering stone, the dicepolished alike, there isno cement seen and no gapbetween stones as the frieze stridesto the impending apse:the rays of many gloriesforced to its focus forminga glory neither of stonenor metal, neither of wordsnor verses, but of the lightshining upon no substance;a glory not madefor which all else was made.