Wednesday, July 13, 2011

With Usura

Mug Shot: Ezra Pound (1885-1972)
For an exceptional back-in-time experience -- to hear Ezra Pound reading his own work --- visit the University of Pennsylvania's PennSound Ezra Pound Page. Grander than the Beatles and performing without a back-up track --- EZRA POUND LIVE! --- the poet himself chants With Usura in this mp3 recording. An extraordinary man raising his solitary voice against the enslavement of men and women by economic institutions, Pound's old-fashioned words ring as soundly today as a quark explosion in the Large Hadron Collider.

Ezra Pound
Canto XLV

With usura hath no man a house of good stone
each block cut smooth and well fitting
that delight might cover their face.

hath no man a painted paradise on his church wall
harpes et luz
or where virgin receiveth message
and halo projects from incision.

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.

sin against nature
is thy bread ever more 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 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 Calunnia painted.
Came not by usura Angelico; came not Ambrogio Praedis,
No church of cut stone signed: Adamo me fecit.
Not by usura Saint 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 palsy 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.

[And so that you don't continually misunderstand. Usury and interest are not the same thing. Usury is a charge made for the use of money regardless of production and often without regard even of the possibilities of production. I now repeat the theme in Canto LI.]

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