POETS Day! Li Bai, Ernest Fenollosa, and Ezra Pound

[This entry is cross posted at ordinary-times.com]

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the episodes of Days of Our Lives dutifully unwatched by a somnambulist workforce blindly attending to responsibilities. Thanks to the protestant work ethic supposedly dying in the United States, the world’s longest running scripted T.V. (television) show is now streaming on something called Peacock Network; premium subscription only. Want to know how Kristen reacts to the revelation that she and Megan are really sisters? What Brady, who won’t take Kristen’s desperate jailhouse calls, will do now that Vic’s name came up during her hypnosis session with Steph? Too bad. That’s for Premium Members only. This is on you, POETS Day people. Daytime shows die when people slack off viewing in favor of work. Days of Our Lives lost its regularly scheduled slot, but it’s not too late to save Judge JudyLet’s Make a Deal, and so many others. There are good, honest, salt-of-the-Earth types in Hollywood. They don’t ask much. Just Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday. That three or four hours at the end of the week is what?… Time to write a sales projection report for your employer? Maybe an inventory of pre-stressed cement planks? It doesn’t seem like a lot to you and me, but that little bit of extra viewing might mean a new Fendi stroller for a Hollywood pre-toddler or a new Grayson Perry ceramic vase lending his trademark incongruity to a lonely Hollywood etagere. So lie, dissemble, fudge the truth, whatever you need to do to get out of work in the wee PM hours and get a jump start on the weekend. Go to a neighborhood watering hole. Ask the barman to turn off the afternoon baseball game and turn on something Wapneresque. Even thirty minutes a week watching I Love Lucy reruns on a fledgling local network may raise the ratings enough to interest a plaintiff’s attorney in purchasing a life giving ad spot. Act now before all our gameshows, small claims court dramas, tabloid talk formats, and yes, even our stories are gone. The next Oprah is out there waiting. But as always, make time for a little verse.


The Jewel Stairs’ Grievance

The jeweled steps are already quite white with dew,
It is so late that the dew soaks my gauze stockings,
And I let down the crystal curtain
And watch the moon through the clear autumn.

                                             By Rihaku.

Note. – Jewel stairs, therefore a place. Grievance, therefore there is something to complain, of. Gauze stockings, therefore a court lady, not a servant who complains. Clear autumn, therefore he has no excuse on account of weather. Also she has come early, for the dew not merely whitened the stairs, but has soaked her stockings. The poem is especially prized because she utters no direct reproach.

Ezra Pound once wrote that he was, not without cause, accused of selling his notebooks. If you’ve ever read “How to Read” or any of the essays in ABC of Reading you’ll know what he means and be grateful for it. His prose invites a peak into his thought process and breadth of comparison. The above is an excerpt from his book Cathay, Translations by Ezra Pound and lengthily subtitled For the Most Part from the Chinese of Rihaku, from the Notes of the Late Ernest Fenollosa, and the Decipherings of the Professors Mori and Ariga. The above poem is the only one from that collection with appended notes making it the most interesting entry in the collection.

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