Thursday Poem: Ezra Pound, Alba

Alba (Dawn Song)

As cool as the pale wet leaves
of lily-of-the-valley
She lay beside me in the dawn

Ezra Pound

Brief Bio-He really wanted to get out of America.  To London first, as the father of modernist poetry, and eventually Italy where he made pro-Axis rants on Italian radio during World War II.   When American troops finally got him, they put him in a box for 25 days.    He was never quite the same after that, though not exactly stable to begin with.  Stable in his art, perhaps.

14 thoughts on “Thursday Poem: Ezra Pound, Alba

  1. Lonski

    My own first impression from the poem Alba was that of a lover’s feelings towards their partner, however that changed at the second reading when I began to see that there are many other ways that the “cool…. wet leaves” can portray. Blood-stained leaves rather than my own first interpretation (dew-covered leaves).

  2. chr1

    Thanks for reading.

    I was thinking of dew-covered leaves because it’s dawn as well. I never thought of the poem that way. Maybe there’s some other intent. Could she be dead?

    Bleeding? Who, or what, is “she” anyways?

  3. Lonski

    The flower; “Lilly-of-the-valley” is pure white. This can be symbolic of purity and innocence, and since the poet compares this woman with the Lilly, we can assume that the voice of the poem considers this woman to be pure as the flower. The Lilly-of -the-valley can be used to portray heavenly things so a possible image that the poem can give to the reader is that of a heavenly light is emitting from this woman from the dimness of the “Dawn.” This plays well with the gentle rhythm of the poem.

    The lady could possiby be named “Dawn” its a little strechy but hey, it’s my interpretation isn’t it. xD

    1. The “lily-of-the-valley” is also biblical (Songs of Solomon 2:1), potentially suggesting an idealistic relationship of two lovers. In the bible, it is the woman that declares she is the lily of the valley illustrating her own self-confidence.

  4. Pingback: Blah Blah Blah… | Of Exits, Golden Oldies, and Dusting

  5. chr1

    Alison, thanks for your comment.

    That’s a good point to make about Pound.

    Do you think Dove is as inclined to the image, or perhaps more to a feeling that one or many images could help to realize in the reader’s mind?

  6. alba

    pound describes laying beside her in the dawn. in this poem, the dawn seems to mean both that she is first sign of light or good in his life after the dark night, and that it is a beginning of a relationship. also, he is comparing her to the purity and beauty of nature.

    1. Robert,

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I agree. Managing to help create, foster and lead some of the best poets as well as a new school of poetry is certainly a significant achievement.

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