Portrait d'une Femme

Original Text: 
Ripostes of Ezra Pound (London: Elkin Mathews, 1915): 17-19. P685 R566 1915 Robarts Library.
2    London has swept about you this score years
3And bright ships left you this or that in fee:
5Strange spars of knowledge and dimmed wares of price.
7You have been second always. Tragical?
8    No. You preferred it to the usual thing:
9One dull man, dulling and uxorious,
10    One average mind -- with one thought less, each year.
11Oh, you are patient, I have seen you sit
12    Hours, where something might have floated up.
13And now you pay one. Yes, you richly pay.
14    You are a person of some interest, one comes to you
15And takes strange gain away:
16    Trophies fished up; some curious suggestion;
19That might prove useful and yet never proves,
20    That never fits a corner or shows use,
21Or finds its hour upon the loom of days:
22    The tarnished, gaudy, wonderful old work;
24    These are your riches, your great store; and yet
26    Strange woods half sodden, and new brighter stuff:
27In the slow float of differing light and deep,
28    No! there is nothing! In the whole and all,
29Nothing that's quite your own.
30            Yet this is you.


1] The title is French for "Portrait of a Lady."
Sargasso Sea: area of the North Atlantic ocean clogged with floating seaweed. Back to Line
4] Ideas: "Ideals" in Umbra (London, June 1920). Back to Line
6] someone: "something" (other editions) Back to Line
17] tale for: "tale or" in Personae (New York, Dec. 22, 1926). Back to Line
18] mandrakes: forked man-shaped plants thought to possess aphrodisiac powers and to increase fertility. Back to Line
23] ambergris: substance produced by sperm whales that is used in perfumes. Back to Line
25] deciduous: losing its leaves every fall. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
Ripostes (1912). See Gallup A8
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.