Essay, Pages 4 (778 words)
Ezra Pound is widely credited with starting the Imagism movement in the modernism era. He placed a large emphasis on using imagery to create a mental picture in order to visual a setting for his poem. This would likely enhance the meaning and depth of it for the reader. This use of imagery is found throughout many of his poems and is one of the key elements of all of Ezra Pound’s poetry. These picture-scapes created through specific word choices and diction helps to immerse the reader into the poem and give them the full sense of feeling that Ezra pound had desired.
In one of his most notable poems the “House of Splendour”, Pound compares an almost god-like woman to a lovely house. He describes the lady saying “I have seen my Lady in the sun, her hair was spread about, a sheaf of wings, and red the sunlight was”. The image of this almost angelic woman surrounded by the red sun with her wings spread is very clear and easy to imagine, which is the goal of Pound.
He doesn’t overcomplicate the image but rather makes it obvious to the reader as to not convolute the message. Ezra also says that “With six great sapphires hung along the wall, low, panel-shaped, a-level with her knees,” to describe the beautiful house full of riches such as sapphire gems that are placed low, so that they are not to be the center of attention. It is clear that the focus is on the girl instead of the house as she is above the sapphires, and it paints an image of how serene and wealthy the house is.
Overall there is a huge focus on creating the image of the house and of the lady in order for the reader to understand that Ezra Pound is trying to show how this woman is more impressive than that of a solid gold house jeweled with all the treasures in the world.
Pound also relies heavily on imagery to accomplish his goal of having the reader understand the theme of his work such as in “Safe and Sound”. He describes the terrible conditions of the English and how all he can give them is his words which they pay for with things of personal value. He further describes the rich, oppressive people hurting the working class that he is talking to by saying “There is blokes in automobiles and their necks sunk into fur”. He despises the upper class for their material possessions by giving a description of basically how incredibly stupid they look driving around the city. Pound is more focused on the worth of words instead of money. He also describes the terrible conditions that most Englishmen are living in by saying “What ain’t got work no more and don’t know what bug is a-bitin’ to keep your feelin’s sore,”. He shows that they are surrounded by filth and bugs without a job to help them improve their life condition. The distinction between rich and poor is very clear based on the diction used by Pound, and his clear message about this divide is painfully obvious.
Pound doesn’t cease using imagery with just these two poems though, in his work “Middle-Aged” he describes the agony of being in the middle of your lifetime. He describes the inner pain experienced all the while the outer facade is responsible for looking normal and doing regular things. This is demonstrated in the description of the tourist side of himself that “stamps in his roof or in the glazing light, trying photographs, wolfing down their ale and cakes.” Pound shows that the regular tourist has life pounding inside of him while the exterior reflects that of a regular, relaxed person. All of this is hard to comprehend and handle. He also describes this inner person saying:
So I, the fires that lit once dreams
Now over and spent,
Lie dead within four walls
And so now love
Rains down and so enriches some stiff case,
And strews a mind with precious metaphors
This passage shows how stuck the person is inside of their thoughts without the possibility to fulfill any of their dreams. Pound is excellent at using imagery in order to make it clear how challenging it is to be middle aged.
Throughout all of his poetry Pound makes excellent use of his words in order to envision and illustrate a painting to accomplish spreading his explicit meaning to the mind of the reader. His imagery is one of the most important facets of his poems and allows the reader to connect with the theme, while their creative imaginations devour the poem.