Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO A FRIEND WRITING ON CABARET DANCERS, by EZRA POUND



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TO A FRIEND WRITING ON CABARET DANCERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Good 'hedgethorn,' for we'll anglicize your name
Last Line: "la donna e mobile."
Subject(s): Dancing & Dancers


"Breathe not the word to-morrow in her ears"
Vir Quidem, on Dancers

Good "Hedgethorn," for we'll anglicize your name
Until the last slut's hanged and the last pig disemboweled,
Seeing your wife is charming and your child
Sings in the open meadow -- at least the kodak says so --

My good fellow, you, on a cabaret silence
And the dancers, you write a sonnet;

Say "Forget To-morrow," being of all men
The most prudent, orderly, and decorous!

"Pepita" has no to-morrow, so you write.

Pepita has such to-morrows: with the hands puffed out,
The pug-dog's features encrusted with tallow
Sunk in a frowsy collar -- an unbrushed black.
She will not bathe too often, but her jewels
Will be a stuffy, opulent sort of fungus
Spread on both hands and on the up-pushed-bosom --
It juts like a shelf between the jowl and corset.
Have you, or I, seen most of cabarets, good Hedgethorn?

Here's Pepita, tall and slim as an Egyptian mummy,
Marsh-cranberries, the ribbed and angular pods
Flare up with scarlet orange on stiff stalks
And so Pepita
Flares on the crowded stage before our tables
Or slithers about between the dishonest waiters --

"CARMEN EST MAIGRE, UN TRAIT DE BISTRE
CERNE SON OEIL DE GITANA"
And "rend la flamme,"
you know the deathless verses.
I search the features, the avaricious features
Pulled by the kohl and rouge out of resemblance --
Six pence the object for a change of passion.

"Write me a poem."
Come now, my dear Pepita,
"-ita, bonita, chiquita,"
That's what you mean you advertising spade,
Or take the intaglio, my fat great-uncle's heirloom:
Cupid, astride a phallus with two wings,
Swinging a cat-o'-nine-tails.
No. Pepita,
I have seen through the crust.
I don't know what you look like
But your smile pulls one way
and your painted grin another,
While that cropped fool,
that tom-boy who can't earn her living,
Come, come to-morrow,
To-morrow in ten years at the latest,
She will be drunk in the ditch, but you, Pepita,
Will be quite rich, quite plump, with pug-bitch features,
With a black tint staining your cuticle,
Prudent and svelte Pepita.
"Poete, writ me a poeme!"
Spanish and Paris, love of the arts part of your geisha-culture!
Euhenia, in short skirts, slaps her wide stomach,
Pulls up a roll of fat for the pianist,
"Pauvre femme maigre!" she says.
He sucks his chop bone,
That some one else has paid for,
grins up an amiable grin,
Explains the decorations.
Good Hedgethorn, they all have futures,
All these people.
Old Popkoff
Will dine next week with Mrs. Basil,
Will meet a duchess and an ex-diplomat's widow
From Weehawken -- who has never known
Any but "Majesties" and Italian nobles.
Euhenia will have a fonda in Orbajosa.
The amorous nerves will give way to digestive;
"Delight thy soul in fatness," saith the preacher.
We can't preserve the elusive "mica salis,"
It may last well in these dark northern climates,
Nell Gwynn's still here, despite the reformation,
And Edward's mistresses still light the stage,
A glamour of classic youth in their deportment.
The prudent whore is not without her future,
Her bourgeois dulness is deferred.
Her present dulness...
Oh well, her present dulness...
Now in Venice, 'Storante al Giardino, I went early,
Saw the performers come: him, her, the baby,
A quiet and respectable-tawdry trio;
An hour later: a show of calves and spangles,
"Un e duo fanno tre,"
Night after night,
No change, no change of program, "Che!
La donna e mobile."





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