General Editor: Marc R. Plamondon

Representative Poetry Online, edition 6.0, is a web anthology of 4,800 poems in English and French by over 700 poets spanning 1400 years.  more about RPO
New poet: Émile Nelligan





Sonnet CXLVI: Poor Soul, the Centre of my Sinful Earth

3Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
4Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
5Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
6Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
7Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
12Within be fed, without be rich no more.
13So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
14And, Death once dead, there's no more dying then.


1] sinful earth: i.e., body. Back to Line
2] The Quarto reading of this line, "My sinfull earth these rebell powres that thee array," is evidently corrupt, the compositor probably being responsible for the repetition of "My sinfull earth." The original is irrecoverable. Conjectural readings include "Thrall to" (by analogy with Lucrece, 722-28), "Fool'd by," "Lord of," "Press'd by," "Why feed'st." The meaning of the phrase is: the rebellious bodily passions that are the garment of the soul. Back to Line
8] thy charge: i.e., the body. Back to Line
9] loss: i.e., privation. Back to Line
10] aggravate: increase. Back to Line
11] terms divine: long periods of divine salvation. Back to Line
 What thou lovest well remains,
                  the rest is dross
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
What thou lov'st well is thy true heritage
Whose world, or mine or theirs
                or is it of none?
First came the seen, then thus the palpable
    Elysium, though it were in the halls of hell,
What thou lovest well is thy true heritage
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
Ezra Pound Pisan Cantos, LXXXI

On this day: June 23rd