‘But the worst mistake I made was that stupid suburban prejudice of anti-semitism.’ Ezra Pound
Sitting in a traghetto, Olga Rudge
from Ohio and Ezra Pound from
Idaho – together fifty years,
from concert violinist to poet’s helpmate,
poet maker to fascist propagandist,
he, typically, with stick, wide brimmed hat,
floppy collar, she, wearing woollen gloves,
left hand clutching a large, canvas bag, right hand
a carefully folded scarf, dressed, like any
elderly woman, for a chilly day –
look away separately into the distance.
Five years before Pound’s death, Allen Ginsberg,
from New Jersey, on a sort of Grand Tour,
kissed him on the cheek and forgave him,
on behalf of the Jews, for his ‘mistake’.
‘Do you accept my blessing?’ asked Allen.
‘I do’, said Ezra. What closure! What chutzpah!
Held in a cage in Pisa, lit day and night,
jeered at as a traitor and a coward
by GIs who had battled from the south,
he wrote: ‘What thou lovest well remains,
the rest is dross’.
Note: The poem has subsequently been published at