A new overture, a new beginning; first prolonged

vision of paradiso terrestre, previously

glimpsed only  in shattered fragments,

as if seen looking upward from Inferno




So that the vines burst from my fingers


More cinematic cross-cutting; takes up where the first

"overture,"  Canto I, ended: "So that:"


Vines "bursting" with energy; hint of vegetation

god, Zagreus/Dionysus [Canto II] and/or Chinese

vegetation gods, the Sennin [Canto IV]


And the bees weighted with pollen

Move heavily in the vine-shoots:

              chirr - chirr - chir-rikk - a purring sound, 

And the birds sleepily in the branches.


EP's paradiso very fertile...."bursting"/ "weighted with pollen".....

and relaxed ["heavily," "sleepily"]


              ZAGREUS!  IO ZAGREUS!

With the first pale-clear of the heaven

And the cities set in their hills,


Zagreus, sold into slavery in Canto II, at large again

in all animate energy.

Note the early appearance of "cities" here;

Ez's Utopia very fertile and "natural"

but NOT anti-urban.


And the goddess of the fair knees


NOT "fair thighs": sensual imagery comes

later, in higher paradise.


Moving there, with the oak-woods behind her,

The green slope, with white hounds

                     leaping about her;


Artemis, the huntress, not Venus this time


And thence down to the creek's mouth, until evening,

Flat water before me,

              and the trees growing in water,

Marble trunks out of stillness,

On past the palazzi,

                             in the stillness,


Note how the tree trunks and marble trunks

bridge the rural and urban, or fix the urban

into natural setting.


Repeated "stillness": the only sound thusfar

the soft "purring" of bees. Compare the

clatter of the Hell cantos [XIV, XV]


The light now, not of the sun.


The neo-Platonic light already glimpsed a few

times // building toward synthesis with MING,

Confucian ideogram for Light and Mind

[Cantos 74-120]



And the water green clear, and blue clear;

On, to the great cliffs of amber.


Every color sharp, all seen in clarity.

Suggests Botticelli, Ez's favorite painter....?


                                               Between them,

Cave of Nerea,

       she like a great shell curved,


Botticelli's Birth of Venus? [Last figure in Canto I,

before "So that:"]


And the boat drawn without a sound,

Without odour of ship-work,

Nor bird-cry, nor any noise of wave moving,

Nor splash of porpoise, nor any noise of wave moving,


Again, quiet, stillness: contrast with noisy Hell cantos.


Within her cave, Nerea,

                              she like a great shell curved

In the suavity of the rock,

                          cliff green-gray in the far,

In the near, the gate-cliffs of amber,

And the wave

                         green clear, and blue clear,

And the cave salt-white, and glare-purple,

                    cool, porphyry smooth,

                    the rock sea-worn,

No gull-cry, no sound of porpoise,

Sand as of malachite, and no cold there,

                 the light not of the sun.


Gods as animate energy in and around

the silently contemplative mind.


Zagreus, feeding his panthers,

                   the turf clear as on hills under light.

And under the almond-trees, gods,

                   with them, chorus nympharum;

the low wood, moor-scrub,

           the doe, the young spotted deer,

           leap up through the broom-plants,

                           as dry leaf amid yellow,

And by one cut of the hills,

                 the great alley of Memnons.

Beyond, sea, crests seen over dune

Night sea churning shingle,

To the left, the alley of cypress.




                                               A boat came,

One man holding her sail,

Guiding her with oar caught over gunwale, saying:

"             There, in the forest of marble,

"             the stone trees - out of water -

"             the arbours of stone - 

"             marble leaf, over leaf,

"             silver, steel over steel,

"             silver beaks rising and crossing,

"             prow set against prow,

"             stone, ply over ply,

"             the gilt beams flare of an evening"


Ez and Frank Lloyd Wright only discovered each other

c 1950, due to common interest in Gesell's economic

reforms, but the "forest" of marble here sure sounds

like Wright on building within, not against, environment.....


Borso, Camagnola, the men of craft, i vitrei,


We will hear more of Borso, peace-maker and

art patron; he already appeared briefly in

Malatesta cantos. Camagnola stumps me.

The men of craft and makers of glass:

creators  of Rennaisance out  of  dark ages?


Thither, at one time, time after time,

And the waters richer than glass,


Another hint of the sea-god?


Bronze gold, the blaze over the silver,

Dye-pots in the torch light,

The flash of wave under prows,

And the silver beaks rising and crossing.

              Drift under hulls in the night.


                    "In the gloom the gold

Gathers the light around it."...


Repeat from Malatesta's lost fortune [Canto XI],

but here with overtones of the tragic

transience of all earthly paradises:

They appear [partially], glow like gold, get trampled

by greed and violence, reappear [partially]

elsewhere......but always  remain "in the

mind indestructible" [Canto LXXIV]


Now supine in burrow, half over-arched bramble,

One eye for the sea, through that peek-hole,

Gray light, with Athene.

Zothar and her elephants, the gold loin-cloth,

The sistrum, shaken, shaken,

                 the cohorts of her dancers.


Note the ambiguous repeats of gold imagery:

beautiful, for its color;

terrifying, for the greed it inspires.


And Aletha, by bend of the shore,

                 with her eyes seaward,

             and in her hands sea-wrack

Salt-bright with the foam.

Kore through the bright meadow,

                 with green-gray dust in the grass:

"For this hour, brother of Circe."

Arm laid over my shoulder,

Saw the sun for three days, the sun fulvid,

As a lion lift over sand-plain;

                                    and that day,

And for three days, and none after,

Splendour, as the splendour of Hermes,


Hermes: equally active in divine world,

human world, underworld.....


And shipped thence

                               to the stone palace,

Pale white, over water,

                                  known water,

And the white forest of marble, bent bough over bough,

The bleached arbour of stone,


Architecture & nature still in harmony


Thither Borso, when they shot the barbed arrow at him,

And Carmagnole, between the two columns,

Sigismundo, after that wreck in Dalmatia.

        Sunset like the grasshopper flying.  


Green flash at sunset "like grasshopper flying"

often seen before industrial pollution.



difference between splendor of Rennaisance cities

          and squalor of spreading slums

--Ez to William Carlos Williams, quoted in

Williams's PATERSON