Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SESTINA: ALTAFORTE, by EZRA POUND



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

SESTINA: ALTAFORTE, by         Recitation     Poet's Biography
First Line: Damn it all! All this our south stinks peace
Last Line: "hell blot black for alway the thought ""peace!"
Subject(s): Blood; Peace; War


Loquitur: En Bertrand de Born. Dante Alighieri put this man in hell got that he was a stirrer up of
strife. Eccovi! Judge ye! Have I dug him up again? The scene was in his castle, Altaforte.
"Papiols" is his jongleur. "The Leopard," the device of Richard Coeur de Lion.

1

Damn it all! all this our South stinks the peace.
You whoresome dog, Papiols, come! Let's to music!
I have no life save when the swords clash.
But ah! when I see the standards gold, vair, purple, opposing
And the broad fields beneath the turn crimson,
Then howl I my heart nigh mad with rejoicing.

2

In hot summer have I great rejoicing
When the tempests kill the earth's foul peace,
And the lightnings from black heaven flash crimson,
And the fierce thunders roar me their music
And the winds shriek through the clouds mad, opposing,
And through all the riven skies God's swords clash.

3

Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash!
And the shrill neighs of destriers in battle rejoicing,
Spiked breast to spiked breast opposing!
Better one hour's stour than a year's peace
With fat boards, bawds, wine and frail music!
Bah! there's no wine like the blood's crimson.

4

And I love to see the sun rise blood-crimson.
And I watch his spears through the dark clash
And it fills my heart with rejoicing
And pries wide my mouth with fast music
When I see him so scorn and defy peace,
His lone might 'gainst all darkness opposing.

5

The man who fears war and squats opposing
My words for stour, hath no blood of crimson
But is fit only to rot in womanish peace
Far from where worth's won and the swords clash
For the death of such sluts I go rejoicing:
Yea, I fill all the air with my music.

6

Papiols, Papiols, to the music!
There's no sound like to swords swords opposing,
No cry like the battle's rejoicing
When our elbows and swords drip the crimson
And our charges 'gainst "The Leopards" rush clash.
May God damn for ever all who cry "Peace!"

7

And let the music of the swords make them crimson!
Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash!
Hell blot black for alway the thought "Peace!"





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