After falling asleep and dreaming in the last two posts, today we’re waking up. Or are we? Not if Ezra Pound can help it. This is a characteristically combative early Pound poem; a highly strung, high flown, maybe somewhat tongue-in-cheek, poem about not wanting to wake up. I wonder what he was dreaming about…
Ye blood-red spears-men of the dawn’s array
That drive my dusk-clad knights of dream away,
Hold! For I will not yield.
My moated soul shall dream in your despite
A refuge for the vanquished hosts of night
That can not yield.
Pound uses some unsubtle metaphors here! The archaic language, the hyphenated nouns, and the military imagery are a little evocative of ‘the wayfarer’ which tries to recreate the atmosphere of old, Anglo-Saxon poetry. The poem elevates a rather mundane situation – not wanting to get out of bed, into a dramatic, doomed confrontation between two armies. I shall be trying to remember these lines next time I really don’t want to get out of bed – it’ll give my brain another one of its crafty strategies for making me sleep in.
Perhaps it’s the ‘vanquished hosts of night’ I’m trying to hold onto – either those ‘Shades of love’ of the night before, as Cavafy had it, or some semi-mythical dreamscape along the lines of Machado’s – which, never mind the ‘dawn’s array’, are obliterated by the drilling of my alarm clock!