17 January 2009

Canto IV

No let-up here. We open with a reference to the ruins of Troy, and then in line 3:

I bet this is the most common point for readers to give up the whole enterprise. It's not just a word I don't understand but you're shouting at me! I've cracked and looked up someone else's commentary:
An EXTREME example of EP's ideal of "condensation." Foist woid, from Greek of Pindar, relates to poetry as source of civilization; second woid, from Latin of Catullus, relates to sexuality as root of family/tribe/society etc

"Foist woid"? is this commentator trying to sound like Ez? anyway, the canto continues with descriptions of the scene, and the sight of an unnamed woman moving towards a window. Bear with it and you get passages like this:
The valley is thick with leaves, with leaves, the trees,
The sunlight glitters, glitters a-top.
Like a fish-scale roof,
Like the church roof in Poictiers
If it were gold.

which make these early cantos worthwhile.

A character called Vidal pops up and there's a reference to Actaeon. I recognise this one, partly. Actaeon, as I recall, peepingtommed on a goddess, and was torn apart by his own hunting dogs as a punishment. (Vidal, of course, was a hairdresser.)

Towards the end there are references to So-Gyoku and Hsiang, preparing us for an eastern influence that's sure to come along later. At this point all I can do is float on the language to the last few lines, where the following references pile up:
Pere Henri Jacques, the Sennin, Rokku, Polhona, Gyges, Cabestan, Tereus, Ecbatan, Garonne [ooh, I know that one, it's a river in France], Adige [isn't that an alpine region of Italy] Stefano, Madonna in hortulo, Cavalcanti.

You're not making this easy, Ez.

No comments: