Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Favourite Snatches (13)

Here's an extract from Canto XII, which appears in A draft of XXX Cantos by Ezra Pound (1930).

When I read this I hear  in my mind's ear the voice of Jimmy Durante. So after you've read Pound's wonderful verses to see The Great Schnozzola himself perform his immortal  Inka Dinka Doo.

There once was a pore honest sailor, a heavy drinker,
A hell of a cuss, a rowster, a boozer, and
The drink finally sent him to hospital,
And they operated, and there was a poor whore in
The woman's ward had a kid, while
They were fixing the sailor, and they brought him the kid
When he came to, and said:
            "Here! this is what we took out of you."

An' he looked at it, an' he got better,
And when he left the hospital, quit the drink,
And when he was well enough
            signed on with another ship
And saved up his pay money,
            and kept on savin' his pay money,
And bought a share in the ship,
            and finally had half shares,
Then a ship
            and in time a whole line of steamers;
And educated the kid,
            and when the kid was in college,
The ole sailor was again taken bad
            and the doctors said he was dying,
And the boy came to the bedside,
            and the old sailor said:
"Boy, I'm sorry I can't hang on a bit longer,
"You're young yet,
            I leave you re-sponsa-bilities.
"Wish I could ha' waited till you were older,
"More fit to take over the bisness..."
            "But, father,
"Don't, don't talk about me, I'm all right,
"It's you, father,"
            "That's it, boy, you said it.
"You called me your father, and I ain't.
"I ain't your dad, no,
"I am not your fader but your moder," quod he,
"Your fader was a rich merchant in Stambouli."

© The Estate of Ezra Pound. The Cantos published by Faber and Faber

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