Archives for posts with tag: Ezra Pound
By Suzuki Harunobu (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Suzuki Harunobu (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Supportasse Boughs

The blossoms have come!
The blossoms are here.
On parade, white ruffs
of spring’s courtiers.

24/3/2015

Today I present the second of the two poems about spring blossoms. These lines, indeed like those of “March Burst” (posted last week) and many of my ‘sushi’ poems, owes a debt to Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro” (1913).

I was in Standard 5, all of twelve years old. We relocated to the school hall while our ordinary classroom was enlarged and converted into a specialist science classroom. (Now that I think about it, this was quite a progressive enterprise for an all girls’ school in 1990s South Africa.)

The hall was dark and echo-ey. On the hall wall, as in the school passages, there were block-mounted reproductions of famous Works of Western Art. I spent many hours staring at a faded, blue-tinged reproduction of “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” wondering if the lady in conversation under the black umbrella would ever make it down the riverbank to the water’s edge. Of course, I had spent six years sitting through assemblies and other high day occasions in the hall, yet being taught in this formal space made it more intimate. The back corner of the ceremonial cavern became our classroom and learning nest for half a year.

It was during an English lesson that we sat over photocopies of “In a Station of the Metro” as an introduction to haiku. Years later, with some literature knowledge, I know that this is an unconvincing approximation of a haiku (inasmuch as haiku can even work in the English language and literary tradition) and an example rather of the Imagist poems of the twentieth century. I have also learnt a bit more about Pound’s work and life, which now adds conflicted layers to my adult reading of the poem.

But when I was twelve and I first read the poem, it was just me, the scene in the metro and the vivid image of petal-faces, a visual motif that I realise crops up in my own verse.


‘Supportasse’ is another term for the starched, lace collars worn by courtiers during the Renaissance. Read more about supportasses courtesy of the following links:

http://www.thefashionhistorian.com/2011/11/ruffs.html
https://historyofeuropeanfashion.wordpress.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supportasse

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

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I was born of poetry

on the underside

where grey makes writing easier

the printed side: too glossy.

I once read that those who buy poetry tend to be middle class, university educated women “of a certain age” (by this, the article implied over 50). Yet whenever I’ve been in Foyle’s on Charing Cross Road, most of the women are next door in the cookbook section and there are one or two corduroy-jacket wearing men at the poetry shelves. At university, those lecturers under whose tutelage I was introduced to Auden, Keats and Donne, were all male.

At the moment I am taken with the work of Charles Bukowski. From the poetry I studied at school during my adolescence, it is Pound’s “At the Station” and Hughes’s “The thought-fox” that still haunt me with their technical craft and sharp imagery.

My own mother is not much into poetry. She trained as a pianist and her interest lies in classical music. It was my father who had an abiding interest in literature and went as far as memorising verse. I write in the accompanying essay to my first volume, Shining in Brightness, about his influence. In fact, I may owe my very existence to poetry.

My mother had attended an ‘am dram’ production, for which my (later) godmother had painted the sets and in which my father played a bumbling, detective’s assistant. During the after party, he wooed my mother with a poem written on the back of Salticrax box.

I was born the following year.

If you would like to follow my regular musings on Twitter, I am @BeadedQuill.

You can order copies of my first volume, SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012, here.