This one is equal parts glorious and frustrating. It opens thusly:
in the mind of heaven God
who made it
more than the sun
in our eye.
Fifth element; mud; said Napoleon
The rare, explicitly religious reference (though the Cantos have been chock full of references to popes and priests, they appear more in their temporal capacity than spiritual) then almost immediately knocked down by the ‘mud’ and ‘Napoleon’ line.
Almost immediately following, he goes on a tirade about usury or ‘usura’ (he wields the latter almost as if it were the name of some Greek deity. as when he writes I am Geryon twin with usura). Throughout though, he uses strongly archaic language – like a pre-Raphaelity poem – and some hints of a back to the land aesthetic. Much of it is beautiful. Like some other sections, I am reminded of nineteenth century translations of classical Greek and Roman poets.
He ends with a disconcerting switch to what we might call ‘Pound’s Chinese style.’ The next to last line reads very much like a line from one of Pound’s translations from the Chinese: in the eel-fishers basket
Then, he ends the Canto – and also this section of Cantos, for a new one, LII-LXXI, begins after this – with the (I assume) Chinese character shown in the photograph. Any one understand its meaning or provenance?