Two Poems

Carl Rakosi


There is the mordant voice
from the back alleys of Paris,
Villon with Diogenes in his eye,

and Robin Starveling, the tailor
(he goes with my proletarian bent)

and Tom Snout, the tinker
(he goes with my ironic nature
although Francis Flute, the bellows-mender
is more fanciful),

and the voice of the young wife
explaining to her close friend
why she had chosen this man for a husband:
‘he’s not handsome but he’s good.’

I hear them! I hear them!

Confession, 1931

And now the young followers
of Pound close ranks,
I among them,
and wish to be heard.

As a populist
I wish to proceed
with serious dignity,
thus: ‘My fellow townsmen, etc.’

but I have a hornpipe
in my head,
kicking up its heels
and wanting out

but delicately,
as if a butterfly had flown
out of the English language.