Dunja Seselja wrote:
> Anyone knows if Pound's Portrait d'un Femme is maybe
> somewhere on the web? Haven't found it with google...
Pound's collected poems (except for the Cantos) and most of his
translations are now available in a single volume, the Library of
America edition. Expensive (US$45) but a treasure house.
Pound's poem is really about the lady, not the visitor, and the
relationship between poet and Lady has no suggestion of it being even
potentially an erotic relationship: The Lady is Penelope, _not_ awaiting
the return of Odysseus because there is no Odysseus worthy of her. This
is one facet of the theme that runs through all of Pound's poems of the
1910s, as the action-to-be of the Cantos gradually emerges, the
discovery of Dangerous Beauty, a discovery repeatedly made in unexpected
contexts. E.g., Shop Girl
For a moment she rested against me
Like a Swallow half-blown to the wall,
And they talk of Swinburne's women,
And the shepherdess meeting with Guido,
And the harlots of Baudelaire.
This intertwinces with the obtuseness of those who cannot see beauty
(power, order) beneath the rubble:
When the Taihaitian princess
Heard that he had decided,
She rushed out into the sunlight and swarmed
up a cocoanut palm tree,
But he returned to this island
And wrote ninety Petrarchan sonnets.
All these poems (at least from Ripostes, 1912 on) move toward the poem
in which the 19th century turns into the 20th century, Near Perigord --
Maent of that poem being the first fully realized instance of the
Penelope (Helen, Eleanor, Circe, Miss Tudor) whose eyes perceive the
city (with terraces the colour of stars), for which the poem longs, the
vision, constantly broken, constantly reformed (gold gleaming in
darkness), and which the poet ends affirming its existence though he
cannot grasp it:
what do I love and
where are you?
That I lost my center
fighting the world.
he dreams clash
and are shattered --
and that I tried to maker a paradiso
I have tried to write Paradise
Do not move
Let the wind speak
that is paradise.
Let the Gods forgive what I
Let those I love try to forgive
what I have made.
These lines are all from "Notes for CXVII et seq. From the last complete
i.e. it coheres all right
even if my notes do not cohere.
I'm not a Pound scholar, but when my fingers start talking about him I
have a hard time stopping. In any case, I really don't think that there
is any link whatever between Pound's Portrait d'un Femme and Eliot's
poem -- they belong to quite different worlds and quite different poetic
visions. Both may (or may not) relate to James's novel.