A Pact


As early as 1909, Ezra Pound knew the poetry of Walt Whitman and the Whitman myth; and he felt obliged to claim kinship with the older poet. At the outset of his career, he wrote of Whitman, “I honour him for he prophesied me while I can only recognize him as a forebear of whom I ought to be proud.”

WalzraTo Walt Whitman

I make a pact with you, Walt Whitman —
I have detested you long enough.
I come to you as a grown child
Who has had a pig-headed father;
I am old enough now to make friends.
It was you that broke the new wood,
Now is a time for carving.
We have one sap and one root —
Let there be commerce between us.

     By Ezra Pound

[Introduction on “Ezra Pound’s Debt to Walt Whitman” by Charles B. Willard]