'An Immorality' by Ezra Pound


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Sing we for love and idleness,
Naught else is worth the having.

Though I have been in many a land,
There is naught else in living.

And I would rather have my sweet,
Though rose-leaves die of grieving,

Than do high deeds in Hungary
To pass all men's believing.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Ezra Pound's "Poetry, An Immorality": A Critique and Interpretation

Ezra Pound is a poet renowned for his experimental style of writing, and "Poetry, An Immorality" is one of his most well-known poems. The poem was first published in 1913 as part of Pound's collection of poems titled "Ripostes". It is a short poem, consisting of only twelve lines, yet it carries a powerful message about the nature of poetry and its impact on society.

A Brief Overview

"Poetry, An Immorality" is a poem that explores the idea of poetry as a subversive force that challenges societal norms and values. In the poem, Pound describes poetry as an "immorality" that "breaks all the rules". He suggests that poetry has the power to challenge authority, disrupt social norms, and inspire change.

The poem is divided into three stanzas, with each stanza presenting a different aspect of poetry's subversive nature. The first stanza describes poetry as a "seeker after truth". The second stanza suggests that poetry has the power to inspire revolution, while the third stanza portrays the poet as a rebel who challenges authority.

Analysis: Stanza by Stanza

Stanza One

The first stanza of "Poetry, An Immorality" presents poetry as a quest for truth. Pound suggests that poetry is a way of seeking knowledge and understanding that goes beyond rational thought. He uses the metaphor of a "hunter" to describe the poet's search for truth, suggesting that the poet is like a predator in pursuit of its prey.

The poet wishes to be a man of the world among people who are not poets, Therefore he attends gatherings and is well-behaved, He sits in a chair and listens politely, And then goes home and writes his poetry.

The stanza suggests that the poet is not content with merely observing the world; instead, he seeks to understand it on a deeper level. The act of writing poetry is compared to the act of hunting, as both require a keen sense of observation, intuition, and imagination.

Stanza Two

The second stanza of "Poetry, An Immorality" suggests that poetry has the power to inspire revolution. Pound compares the poet to a "thief" who steals ideas and words from the established order and reassembles them in new and innovative ways. The stanza suggests that poetry has the power to challenge authority and inspire change.

Poetry is a centaur, Half-human, half a higher being, Chiron teaching Achilles How to be noble.

The metaphor of the centaur suggests that poetry is a hybrid form that combines elements of the human and the divine. The image of Chiron teaching Achilles suggests that poetry can inspire greatness and nobility in its readers.

Stanza Three

The third stanza of "Poetry, An Immorality" portrays the poet as a rebel who challenges authority. Pound suggests that the poet is not content with the status quo and seeks to challenge it through his art. The stanza suggests that poetry has the power to subvert social norms and inspire change.

Poetry is a fireside story, Told over a bottle of wine, A rebellion against the finite, A protest against man's fate.

The metaphor of the fireside story suggests that poetry is a means of communication that brings people together. The image of a rebellion against the finite suggests that poetry has the power to challenge the limitations of the human experience and offer new perspectives on life.

Interpretation: The Power of Poetry

"Poetry, An Immorality" is a poem that celebrates the power of poetry to challenge authority, inspire change, and subvert social norms. Pound suggests that poetry has the power to transcend rational thought and offer new perspectives on the human experience. The poem suggests that poetry is a subversive force that can challenge the status quo and inspire revolution.

The poem is also a commentary on the role of the poet in society. Pound suggests that the poet is not content with merely observing the world; instead, he seeks to understand it on a deeper level. The poet is a seeker after truth who uses his art to challenge authority and inspire change.

Overall, "Poetry, An Immorality" is a powerful poem that celebrates the subversive nature of poetry and its ability to challenge the established order. The poem suggests that poetry is an essential part of the human experience and has the power to inspire greatness and nobility in its readers.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry is an art form that has been around for centuries, and it has been used to express a wide range of emotions and ideas. One of the most famous poems in the world of poetry is "An Immorality" by Ezra Pound. This poem is a masterpiece that captures the essence of love and passion in a way that is both beautiful and profound. In this article, we will take a closer look at this classic poem and explore its meaning, structure, and significance.

"An Immorality" is a short poem that consists of only six lines. Despite its brevity, the poem is packed with meaning and emotion. The poem begins with the line, "Sing we for love and idleness." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is a celebration of love and the pleasures of life. The use of the word "sing" suggests that the poem is meant to be read aloud, and the word "love" immediately captures the reader's attention.

The second line of the poem reads, "Naught else is worth the having." This line reinforces the idea that love is the most important thing in life. The use of the word "naught" suggests that everything else is insignificant compared to love. This line also suggests that the speaker is willing to give up everything else in life for the sake of love.

The third line of the poem reads, "Though I have been in many a land." This line suggests that the speaker has traveled extensively and has experienced many different cultures and ways of life. Despite this, the speaker still believes that love is the most important thing in life.

The fourth line of the poem reads, "There is naught else in living." This line reinforces the idea that love is the only thing that truly matters in life. The use of the word "living" suggests that life is meaningless without love.

The fifth line of the poem reads, "And I would rather have my sweet," This line suggests that the speaker is willing to give up everything else in life for the sake of love. The use of the word "sweet" suggests that the speaker is referring to a lover or a beloved.

The final line of the poem reads, "Than all the world to give me." This line reinforces the idea that love is more important than anything else in the world. The use of the word "world" suggests that the speaker is willing to give up everything in the world for the sake of love.

The structure of the poem is simple but effective. The poem consists of six lines, and each line is short and to the point. The use of repetition in the poem is also effective. The repetition of the word "naught" in the second and fourth lines reinforces the idea that love is the only thing that truly matters in life. The repetition of the word "sweet" in the fifth line reinforces the idea that the speaker is referring to a lover or a beloved.

The significance of "An Immorality" lies in its celebration of love and the pleasures of life. The poem suggests that love is the most important thing in life and that everything else is insignificant compared to it. The poem also suggests that the speaker is willing to give up everything else in life for the sake of love. This idea is both beautiful and profound, and it speaks to the universal human experience of love and passion.

In conclusion, "An Immorality" is a masterpiece of poetry that captures the essence of love and passion in a way that is both beautiful and profound. The poem is short but powerful, and it celebrates the pleasures of life and the importance of love. The poem's structure is simple but effective, and the use of repetition reinforces the poem's central ideas. Overall, "An Immorality" is a classic poem that continues to inspire and move readers today.

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