BK. Ezra Pound

44. ‘D’Artagnan Twenty Years After’. Criterion 16 (1937): 606-17.

  Reprinted in Selected Prose.  

In his assessment of the ‘intellectual world of our time’, Pound asserts that ‘the apt use of metaphor’ is the true hall-mark of genius’, and draws a perceptive example from the hokku, extending his understanding of the ‘form of super-position’ of nearly a quarter century earlier (see 12), and connecting the Japanese form finally with a movement toward the ideogramic method (see 32): ‘If le style c’est l’homme, the writer’s blood test is his swift contraposition of objects. Most hokkus are bilateral. “The foot-steps of the cat upon / The snow: / Plum blossoms.” May seem to the careless peruser to be only bilateral, two visual images; but they are so placed as to contain wide space and a stretch of colour between them. The third element is there, its dimension from the fruit to the shadow in the foot-prints. No moral but a mood caught in its pincers. “The waves rise / And the waves fall but you / (this is a hero’s monument in Nippon) / are like the moonlight: always there.” Another dimension. From dead thesis, metaphor is distinct. Any thesis is dead in itself. Life comes in metaphor and metaphor starts TOWARD ideogram.’ Reprinted in 73.





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