Of Usury/CONTRA NATURAM, socialist requiems, and FRUIT and flies

Reading this post and referenced article here, was moved to comment:

————————————————————————————————————–

Ah, am reminded of Ezra Pound’s pounding litany against usury, his “With Usura”, from The Cantos.

With Usura (Canto LXV)

With usura hath no man a house of good stone
each block cut smooth and well fitting
that delight might cover their face,

with usura

hath no man a painted paradise on his church wall
harpes et luthes
or where virgin receiveth message
and halo projects from incision,

with usura

seeth no man Gonzaga his heirs and his concubines
no picture is made to endure nor to live with
but it is made to sell and sell quickly

with usura, sin against nature,
is thy bread ever more of stale rags
is thy bread dry as paper,
with no mountain wheat, no strong flour

with usura the line grows thick

with usura is no clear demarcation
and no man can find site for his dwelling
Stone cutter is kept from his stone
weaver is kept from his loom

WITH USURA

wool comes not to market
sheep bringeth no gain with usura
Usura is a murrain, usura
blunteth the needle in the the maid’s hand
and stoppeth the spinner’s cunning.

Pietro Lombardo came not by usura
Duccio came not by usura
nor Pier della Francesca; Zuan Bellin’ not by usura
nor was “La Callunia” painted.

Came not by usura Angelico; came not Ambrogio Praedis,
No church of cut stone signed: Adamo me fecit.

Not by usura St. Trophime

Not by usura St. Hilaire,

Usura rusteth the chisel
It rusteth the craft and the craftsman
It gnaweth the thread in the loom
None learneth to weave gold in her pattern;
Azure hath a canker by usura; cramoisi is unbroidered
Emerald findeth no Memling

Usura slayeth the child in the womb
It stayeth the young man’s courting
It hath brought palsey to bed, lyeth
between the young bride and her bridegroom

CONTRA NATURAM

They have brought whores for Eleusis
Corpses are set to banquet

at behest of usura.

-Ezra Pound, With Usura, from The Cantos

And while Pablo Neruda’s later relationship with Castro may had been somewhat strained, he did pen this ode to the Great Man as well:

To Fidel Castro

Fidel, Fidel, the people are grateful
for words in action and deeds that sing,
that is why I bring from far
a cup of my country’s wine:
it is the blood of a subterranean people
that from the shadows reaches your throat,
they are miners who have lived for centuries
extracting fire from the frozen land.
They go beneath the sea for coal
but on returning they are like ghosts:
they grew accustomed to eternal night,
the working-day light was robbed from them,
nevertheless here is the cup
of so much suffering and distances:
the happiness of imprisoned men
possessed by darkness and illusions
who from the inside of mines perceive
the arrival of spring and its fragrances
because they know that Man is struggling
to reach the amplest clarity.
And Cuba is seen by the Southern miners,
the lonely sons of la pampa,
the shepherds of cold in Patagonia,
the fathers of tin and silver,
the ones who marry cordilleras
extract the copper from Chuquicamata,
men hidden in buses
in populations of pure nostalgia,
women of the fields and workshops,
children who cried away their childhoods:
this is the cup, take it, Fidel.

It is full of so much hope
that upon drinking you will know your victory
is like the aged wine of my country
made not by one man but by many men
and not by one grape but by many plants:
it is not one drop but many rivers:
not one captain but many battles.
And they support you because you represent
the collective honor of our long struggle,
and if Cuba were to fall we would all fall,
and we would come to lift her,
and if she blooms with flowers
she will flourish with our won nectar.
And if they dare touch Cuba’s
forehead, by your hands liberated,
they will find people’s fists,
we will take out our buried weapons:
blood and pride will come to rescue,
to defend our beloved Cuba.

–Pablo Neruda

[I also wanted to place Neruda’s poem “The United Fruit Co.” here, but I dare not…]
{But have no compunctions about placing it here on this site, so here it is…}

The United Fruit Co.

When the trumpet sounded, it was
all prepared on the earth,
the Jehovah parcelled out the earth
to Coca Cola, Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, and other entities:
The Fruit Company, Inc.
reserved for itself the most succulent,
the central coast of my own land,
the delicate waist of America.
It rechristened its territories
as the ’Banana Republics’
and over the sleeping dead,
over the restless heroes
who brought about the greatness, the liberty and the flags,
it established the comic opera:
abolished the independencies,
presented crowns of Caesar,
unsheathed envy, attracted
the dictatorship of the flies,
Trujillo flies, Tacho flies,
Carias flies, Martines flies,
Ubico flies, damp flies
of modest blood and marmalade,
drunken flies who zoom
over the ordinary graves,
circus flies, wise flies
well trained in tyranny.

Among the blood-thirsty flies
the Fruit Company lands its ships,
taking off the coffee and the fruit;
the treasure of our submerged
territories flow as though
on plates into the ships.

Meanwhile Indians are falling
into the sugared chasms
of the harbours, wrapped
for burials in the mist of the dawn:
a body rolls, a thing
that has no name, a fallen cipher,
a cluster of the dead fruit
thrown down on the dump.

–Pablo Neruda

[An outwardly whimsical poem, but at its core, a gripping cold despair cynicism bitterness and resignation. Such dread in its metaphors and imageries (and smells!) which come alive in their sickly-sweet putrid stank of fruit and flies.
Juxtaposition…just which is the fruit and who are the flies ?


How to read this and not be moved by what Neruda was fighting for…]

Whatever it may be said, no one can deny that socialist poets verse beautifully…
Fruit and Flies indeed…

[And of the connections between economics, capitalism, usury, debt, socialism, beauty/ugliness, The United Fruit Co., Latin America, banana republics, cold ruthless exploitation of resources and labour, the Monroe Doctrine, fruits and flies… too lazy to make them here.
]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s