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To Ezra Pound

September 25, 1988

My dear Pound,

I have been reading some of your work lately. I enjoyed the article on the Vortex (please tell me who Kandinsky is). I distrust and detest Aesthetics, when it cuts loose from the Object, and vapours in the void, but you have not done that. The closer one keeps to the Artist's discussion of his technique the better, I think, and the only kind of art worth talking about is the art one happens to like. There can be no contemplative or easychair aesthetics, I think; only the aesthetics of the person who is about to do something. I was fearful lest you should hitch it up to Bergson or James or some philosopher, and was relieved to find that Vorticism was not a philosophy.

I hope that your work is progressing satisfactorily. I probably shall not be in town again until March. I hope that Yeats will still be there. Please remember me to Mrs. Pound.

Sincerely yours Thomas S. Eliot

I enclose one small verse. I know it is not good, but everything else I have done is worse. Besides, I am constipated and have a cold on the chest. Burn it.


She lay very still in bed with stubborn eyes

Holding her breath lest she begin to think.

I was a shadow upright in the corner

Dancing joyously in the firelight.

She stirred in her sleep and clutched the blanket with her fingers.

She was very pale and breathed hard.

When morning shook the long nasturtium creeper in the tawny bowl

I passed joyously out through the window. T. S. Eliot

(born Sept. 26, 1888)

From "The Letters of T. S. Eliot; Volume I 1898-1922" (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: $29.95; 639 pp.), edited by Valerie Eliot. The paragraph and poem above conclude a longer letter from Eliot to Ezra Pound from Merton College, Oxford, dated 2 February 1915. 1988 SET Copyrights Limited. Reprinted by permission of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

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