A Remarkable Poem

EZRA POUND, one of the most promising formless, time and spaceless bards, has written a poem entitled Dogmatic Statement Concerning the Game of Chess. It is published in the March Poetry. When you have read it, the joke is on you because it is stated that the poem has been printed backward. When [ the ? ] [ you ? ] essay to read forward, you find to your surprise that this [?] it makes about as much sense. Indeed, it is like that cubistic painting which could be entitled Editing Down Stairs or Falling Up Stairs, as well as Somebody or Something Descending the Stairs. EZRA POUND be it asserted, can fall up stairs or down stairs with an equally facile utterance of the most unintelligible poetry.

Well, to paraphrase LINCOLN, if you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you will like. If anybody can extract comfort or [?] or salvation or sense [?] Dogmatic Statement Concerning the Game of Chess why let him. This is the age of liberty, or so it is professed. [?] may behave what pleases him, admire what he likes, within limits do what he wishes. There’s no restraining Mr. POUND from writing as his spirit dictates, and there is no restraining his having as many followers as elect to follow.

There came a time in the history of Greek art where development of beauty did not require sense in the perfect sense. Indeed, they wanted no sense; what they wanted was perfect [?] of words, that enchanted the ear. In MEREJKOWSKI’s novel, Julian the Apostate, a scene appears illustrating the fact. In modern France also similar [?] of the sound have not been unknown.

But the Greek and the Frenchman, if both had a sense for senseless musical words but also a [?] [?] [?] ridiculous. It was necessary that the senseless verse should not be nonsensical. For the verse of perfect music to convey a nonsense would have been even more offensive than for it to convey a sense.

What they required were words in beautiful procession, but [?] of [?] of sense of nonsense. No doubt, as the Italians declare, the English two words “cellar door” are supremely beautiful, but they cannot be rid of their [?] [?]. And their significance would be fatal. SWINBURN is better. He is guilty of strings of malicious words that contain no image, but are as colorless of nonsense as of sense.

The trouble with our formless, timeless, spaceless, cubistic poets, is that they never or seldom attain beautiful sounds and many times do suggest incongruous things without meaning to do so. Thus they fall down their own stairs as it were.