The Cantos by Ezra Pound

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The passage’s concluding triad of ‘sky’s clear/ night’s sea/ green of the mountain pool’ returns again in Canto LXXXIII :

The eyes, this time my world,
But pass and look from mine
between my lids
sea, sky and pool
alternate
pool, sky, sea, (1044/535)

The eye’s lens inverts light and projects a two-dimensional image on the retina behind it; the brain then inverts this image a second time so that it appears to be the right way up. Pound imagines his own perception inverted and communicated to the reader in an analogous way. The idea suggests that ‘paradise’ is indeed a ‘state of mind’ – or a matter of perception – and whereas an understanding of the ‘dark wood- inferno-purgatorio ’ requires the normal reading process of interpreting another’s thoughts, the entry to paradise, perhaps, requires something more: the ability to perceive as another perceives .

The paradiso that exists in the tiny indestructible things of nature – or in the mystery of a pair of otherworldly eyes – is united to The Cantos ’ more established hierarchy of things which are permanent on the first pages of Canto LXXIV :

and there was a smell of mint under the tent flaps
especially after the rain
and a white ox on the road toward Pisa
as if facing the tower,
dark sheep in the drill field and on wet days were clouds
in the mountain as if under the guard roost

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Ezra Pound

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