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Ezra Pound, "A Girl"...is about...
Posted by: Javier (---.user.ono.com)
Date: April 17, 2005 07:27AM

Hello everybody,
I just read this poem and I need a real, 100% sure explanation of it. Do you know what it really means?
I'm very confused


Re: Ezra Pound, "A Girl"...is about...
Posted by: joseph r. torelli (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: April 17, 2005 07:48AM

Javier:

It would be helpful to us all if you'd post the poem along with your questions. You will get a faster response.

JoeT


Re: Ezra Pound, "A Girl"...is about...
Posted by: Desi (---.adsl.proxad.net)
Date: April 17, 2005 08:21AM

A Girl
by: Ezra Pound

The tree has entered my hands,
The sap has ascended my arms,
The tree has grown in my breast-
Downward,
The branches grow out of me, like arms.

Tree you are,
Moss you are,
You are violets with wind above them.
A child - so high - you are,
And all this is folly to the world.

==========
Maybe it refers to the story of Daphne?
[www.answers.com]


Re: Ezra Pound, "A Girl"...is about...
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh16rt-04rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 18, 2005 11:18AM

Probably a good guess. Mythology has several others who were turned into trees, including Myrrha,

[www.answers.com] />
Also Baucis and her husband, but they were old folks at the time.

[tinyurl.com] />
If Daphne is correct, then I suspect there are two speakers in Pound's poem, one for each stanza. Apollo, as the second speaker ends his speech with 'all this is folly to the world'.

I'm thinking this is what Ezra wanted us to understand, but his, uh, thrust is less than totally, erm, fruitful.

Does he mean Daphne would have been better served to allow herself to be ravished? Perhaps he means the world no longer believes in mythology? Something else again?


Re: Ezra Pound, "A Girl"...is about...
Posted by: Javier (---.user.ono.com)
Date: April 18, 2005 01:07PM

I don't really know, I just ask you. But there are people with very different points of view. Please read this:

"This poem elaborates Ezra's view on history and culture in the context of a young woman. The world of dry dead energyless civilisation is contrasted against the natural pagan world, symbolised by the girl.

In ancient Rome there are many examples of women turning into plants and animals in their fiction, such as Ovid's Metamorphoses. In this context of the ancient world this happens in the presence of a God desiring the woman.

Here I beleive the desire is unsatisfied, and the woman eludes him by turning into a tree. Pound the poet is represented as a God in pursuit of the human girl. The tendency of Pound to egotistical overstatement is subtle here. But I understand that's what got him committed in his treason case to an insane asylum"

I need more opinions about this. What do you think it means?


Re: Ezra Pound, "A Girl"...is about...
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-04rh16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 19, 2005 10:22AM

What do you think it means?

It means the author is a pompous twit who worships grandiloquence for its own sake.


Re: Ezra Pound, "A Girl"...is about...
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 19, 2005 12:44PM

I haven't been away, just stumped!

I found only one comment (in criticism) on line, and that one is spectacularly unhelpful:

 Many readers are apt to confuse the maturing of personality with  desiccation of the emotions. There is no desiccation in [these poems].
 This should be evident to anyone who reads carefully such a poem as
 "A Girl." We quote it entire without comment.

Yeah, right...

My only guess (and it's only a guess) about WHAT IT MEANS goes something like this: "I saw a little girl playing and she was pretending to be a tree. She really believed she was a tree with all her childish heart. It was a wonderful thing to witness. You might think that the story of Daphne is pure fiction, but it's not--I've seen it happen."


Re: Ezra Pound, "A Girl"...is about...
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: April 19, 2005 12:48PM

My take on it is that he's saying the girl is a "child of nature". A symbol for nature itself.


Les


Re: Ezra Pound, "A Girl"...is about...
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 20, 2005 04:18PM

I need a real, 100% sure explanation of it.

No such explication is possible.

But,

This may help a little:

GIRL, A
[NO. 52. PRINTINGS : 15, 42, 43, 53, 55]
Like the tree, this poem is a study in Ovidian metamorphosis and is therefore related to the metamorphic sections of the Cantos which M. B. Quinn has studied. Daphne (also mentioned in the tree) extends her leafy hands toward E. P. in
HUGH SELWYN MAUBERLEY (1. 195).

A GIRL

THE tree has entered my hands,
The sap has ascended my arms,
The tree has grown in my breast—
Downward,
The branches grow out of me, like arms.

Tree you are,
Moss you are,
You are violets with wind above them.
A child—so high—you are,
And all this is folly to the world.
* * *
THE TREE
I STOOD still and was a tree amid the wood,
Knowing the truth of things unseen before;
Of Daphne and the laurel bow And that god-feasting couple old
That grew elm-oak amid the wold.
'Twas not until the gods had been
Kindly entreated, and been brought within
Unto the hearth of their heart's home
That they might do this wonder thing;
Nathless I have been a tree amid the wood
And many a new thing understood
That was rank folly to my head before.

TREE, THE
[NO. 12. PRINTINGS: I, 8, Q, 53, 55]
[Epigraph: [lacking] i, 9+; From "A Lume Spento" 8]
Commenting on the tree in a footnote to an uncollected poem called "Aube of the West Dawn. Venetian June," Pound said he thought "from such perceptions as this arose . . . the myths of metamorphosis" (A Quinzaine for This Yule [1908], ?• 12). The theory was elaborated subsequently in the New Age ([Jan. 7, 1915], 246):
The first myths arose when a. man walked sheer into "nonsense," that is to say, when some very vivid and undeniable adventure befell him, and he told someone else who called him a liar. Thereupon, after bitter experience, perceiving that no one could understand what he meant when he said . that he "turned into a tree," he made a myth—a work of art that is—an impersonal or objective story woven out of his own emotion, as the nearest equation that he was capable of putting into words. That story, perhaps, then gave rise to a weaker copy of his emotion in others, until there whose a cult, a company of people who could understand each other's nonsense about the gods, similar speculations led to the writing of an uncollected poem 'Masks," which begins:
These tales of old disguisings, are they not sage myths of souls that found themselves among wonted folk that spake an hostile tongue . . . ?
* * *

Javier, I do not know how much help all this will be to you, but at least they may give you a start toward a scholarly reading of "A Girl."--if this is not just confusing; in which case, ignore it. A precise reading is not the same as a "real,100%" one however, which is itself a myth.

Good luck,

Peter


Re: Ezra Pound, "A Girl"...is about...
Posted by: Javier (---.user.ono.com)
Date: April 25, 2005 12:12PM

Now I understand it better,
Thank you




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