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Lo the fair dead

January 12, 2015

Next week will see a return, finally, to our regularly scheduled programming.

Meanwhile:

I’ve recently picked up Ezra Pound’s Personae and begun reading through it. I’ve come across a number of worthy lyrics, but so far it’s the early poem “Threnos” that’s stuck with me. It’s something about the irregular rhythm of the repeated phrases, and the persistent negations, and the echoes of Dante’s hell of the lovers…. I take it to be something like a minimalist modernist revision of the Arthurian poems the Victorian period.

The subject matter, for those wondering, is the tragedy of Tristan and Iseult; “Tintagoel” is a variant spelling of Tintagel, the castle from which, “some say,” Iseult’s husband Mark ruled as king.

No more for us the little sighing.
No more the winds at twilight trouble us.

Lo the fair dead!

No more do I burn.

No more for us the fluttering of wings
That whirred in the air above us.

Lo the fair dead!

No more desire flayeth me,
No more for us the trembling
At the meeting of hands.

Lo the fair dead!

No more for us the wine of the lips,
No more for us the knowledge.
Lo the fair dead!

No more the torrent,
No more for us the meeting-place
(Lo the fair dead!)
Tintagoel.

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