Canto XIV


Io venni in luogo d'ogni luce muto;


"I came to a place devoid of light:" Dante, Inferno;

cf Odysseus approaching the underworld thru'

'swartest night' in Canto I.

EP always identifies paradise with LIGHT

and Hell with darkness; he also often quotes

Shakespeare's 'there is no darkness but ignorance'

Again: in Richard St Victor [Dante's source, and

Pound's], hell = obsession, compulsion, mechanism;

purgation = objective intelligence;

paradise = mind united with world by ecstatic love.


The stench of wet coal, politicians

. . . . . . . . . e and . . . . . n, their wrists bound to

               their ankles,

Standing bare bum,

Faces smeared on their rumps,

               wide eye on flat buttock,

Bush hanging for beard,

        Addressing crowds through their arse-holes,

Addressing the multitudes in the ooze,


Pound scholars Terrell and Makin both identify

............e with Lloyd George and ......n with Woodrow

Wilson. Just about the only place where Pound and

John Maynard Keynes agreed: they both thought George

and Wilson planted the seeds of a second world war

in their Verseilles treaty. See Keynes, THE ECONOMIC



newts, water-slugs, water-maggots,

And with them. . . . . . . r,

               a scrupulously clean table-napkin

Tucked under his penis,

               and . . . . . . . . . . . m

Who disliked colloquial language,


Identities unknown, but I bet they were presbyterians....


Stiff-starched, but soiled, collars

               circumscribing his legs,

The pimply and hairy skin

               pushing over the collar's edge,

Profiteers drinking blood sweetened with sh-t,

And behind them . . . . . . f and the financiers

               lashing them with steel wires.


........f  probably Sir Basil Zaharoff, banker and

munitions maker: a recurrent figure of conscienceless



And the betrayers of language

               . . . . . . n and the press gang

And those who had lied for hire;

the perverts, the perverters of language,

               the perverts, who have set money-lust

Before the pleasures of the senses;


The betrayers and perverters of language to Pound

includes both liars-for-hire and the lazy, who

slump into cliche and don't attend to TECHNE;

this becomes a  major theme in the Confucian

and Adams Cantos.


howling, as of a hen-yard in a printing house,

               the clatter of presses,

the blowing of dry dust and stray paper,

foetor, sweat, the stench of stale oranges,

dung, last cess-pool of the universe,

mysterium, acid of sulphur,

the pusillanimous, raging;

plunging jewels in mud,

               and howling to find them unstained;

sadic mothers driving their daughters to bed with decrepitude,

sows eating their litters,


In modern lit, only Burroughs equals Pound's

ferocious Dantescan imagery

for mental dry-rot

and here the placard EIKON GHE


"image of earth": this Hell not supernatural

but the 1920s seen with poetic fury, a la Blake

on 18th Century London



melting like dirty wax,

               decayed candles, the bums sinking lower,

faces submerged under hams,

And in the ooze under them,

reversed, foot-palm to foot-palm,

               hand-palm to hand-palm, the agents provocateurs

The murderers of Pearse and MacDonagh,


Irish rebels killed by the Brits, 1916


     Captain H. the chief torturer;


EP said this  referred to Captain Colthurst,

renowned for 1916 cruelty to Irish anti-colonialists;

the Capt ended up in a nut house...just like Ez...


The petrified turd that was Verres,

               bigots, Calvin and St. Clement of Alexandria


Verres: unusually corrupt Roman bureaucrat;

Calvin: not  only a bigot, but legitimizer of usury;

St Clement: earned Ez's special ire for teaching that

women shd never take baths; but Ez disliked

the Church Fathers generally


black-beetles, burrowing into the sh-t,

The soil a decrepitude, the ooze full of morsels,

lost contours, erosions.

               Above the hell-rot

the great arse-hole,

               broken with piles,

hanging stalactites,

               greasy as sky over Westminster,

the invisible, many English,

               the place lacking in interest,

last squalor, utter decrepitude,

the vice-crusaders, fahrting through silk,

               waving the Christian symbols,

. . . . . . . . frigging a tin penny whistle,

Flies carrying news, harpies dripping with sh-t through the air,

The slough of unamiable liars,

               bog of stupidities,

malevolent stupidities, and stupidities,

the soil living pus, full of vermin,

dead maggots begetting live maggots,

               slum owners,


The slum owners get condemned both before [Canto 12]

and after [here] the first Confucian canto [13]


usurers squeezing crab-lice, pandars to authority,

pets-de-loup, sitting on piles of stone books,

obscuring the texts with philology,

               hiding them under their persons,

the air without refuge of silence,

               the drift of lice, teething,

and above it the mouthing of orators,

               the arse-belching of preachers.


.....begins to sound like George Carlin on

current politics and religion.....? Well,

anyway, sounds like Swift for sure


      And Invidia,

the corruptio, foetor, fungus,

liquid animals, melted ossifications,

slow rot, foetic combustion,

       chewed cigar-butts, without dignity, without tragedy,

. . . . .m Episcopus, waving a condom full of black-beetles,

monopolists, obstructors of knowledge,

               obstructors of distribution.


According to Ez, even 1920s technology cd have

given everybody a decent standard of living,

except for the "monopolists, obstructors

of knowledge/obstructors of distribution."

Cf Bucky Fuller, who sez much the same

and blames continuing squalor and war on

"ignorance, greed, fear and zoning laws."