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!


1 Comment

Filed under Poetry

One response to “Defiance

  1. Pingback: A Song to Mithras | sweettenorbull

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