Skip to main content
Read page text

For there is no new thing under the sun, Only this uncomely man with a smoking gun In the gloom... What the devil will he gain by it? Digging a hole in the mud and standing all day in the rain by it Waiting his doom, The sharp blow, the swift outpouring of the blood, Till the trench of grey mud Is turned to a brown purple drain by it. [...] And what in the world did they bear it for? I don’t know. And what in the world did they dare it for? Perhaps that is not for the likes of me to understand.

[from ‘In October 1914’, later titled ‘Antwerp’]

Man is to mankind a wolf – homo homini lupus – largely because the means of communication between man and man are very limited. I daresay that if words direct enough could have been found, the fiend who sanctioned the use of poisonous gases in the present war could have been so touched to the heart that he would never have signed that order, calamitous, since it marks a definite retrogression in civilisation such as had not yet happened in the Christian era. Beauty is a very valuable thing; perhaps it is the most valuable thing in life; but the power to express emotion so that it shall communicate itself intact and exactly is almost more valuable.

[‘From China to Peru’ (on Pound’s Cathay),

Outlook, 35 (19 June 1915), pp. 800–1]

My Bookmarks

    Skip to main content