from Sword-Dance and
Spear-Dance: Texts of Poems used with Michio Itow’s Dances, by Ezra
Pound from Notes by Masirni Utchiyama (1916)
Song for a Foiled Vendetta
With a faint chirring of whips,
At the ford,
In the darkness,
In the dawn I saw the foe
Like a fang
(Like a tusk
on the boar’s lip:
in the forest.)
Ten years of hate,
Ten to sharpen the sword,
He is gone like a shooting star,
Like a long snake in the dark.
The Sole Survivor
A force cut off
I burst the bonds,
Fleeing by night
Through the crags of the border.
My sword is broken,
My horse fallen.
The hero drags his corpse to his native mountains.
In Enemies’ Country Just after War
Beneath the pale crust of moon
My sleeves are drenched with dew.
Wind rushes against my face. I am cold.
I start aside from the big snake on the pathway,
Startled I draw my sword,
And slash at
the old-pine-tree’s shadow.
‘Sword-Dance and Spear-Dance’
(BK26) appeared in Future
(London) 1.2 (December 1916), pp. 54-55.
For an overview of Pound’s
Japanese interests see Ezra Pound
and the Invention of Japan in the Bibliography, and for a
note about Pound titles in print see In
a Station of the Metro.