Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In for a penny...

I can't think of a better way to end a year of banker-driven, greed-induced recession than with the immortal words of Ezra Pound reading his own Canto XLV — 'With Usura':

With Usura (1937)

With usura hath no man a house of good stone 

each block cut smooth and well fitting

that delight might cover their face,
with usura
hath no man a painted paradise on his church wall 

harpes et luz
or where virgin receiveth message 

and halo projects from incision,
with usura
seeth no man Gonzaga his heirs and his concubines

no picture is made to endure nor to live with

but it is made to sell and sell quickly
with usura, sin against nature,

is thy bread ever more of stale rags

is thy bread dry as paper, 

with no mountain wheat, no strong flour
with usura the line grows thick
with usura is no clear demarcation

and no man can find site for his dwelling.

Stonecutter is kept from his stone 

weaver is kept from his loom
wool comes not to market

sheep bringeth no gain with usura 

Usura is a murrain, usura 

blunteth the needle in the the maid's hand

and stoppeth the spinner's cunning. Pietro Lombardo
came not by usura 

Duccio came not by usura

nor Pier della Francesca; Zuan Bellin' not by usura 

nor was 'La Callunia' painted.
Came not by usura Angelico; came not Ambrogio Praedis, 

Came no church of cut stone signed: Adamo me fecit.
Not by usura St Trophime
Not by usura Saint Hilaire,
Usura rusteth the chisel

It rusteth the craft and the craftsman

It gnaweth the thread in the loom 

None learneth to weave gold in her pattern;

Azure hath a canker by usura; cramoisi is unbroidered 

Emerald findeth no Memling
Usura slayeth the child in the womb

It stayeth the young man's courting

It hath brought palsey to bed, lyeth

between the young bride and her bridegroom
They have brought whores for Eleusis

Corpses are set to banquet
at behest of usura.

NB — Usury: a charge for the use of purchasing power, levied without regard to production.

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