Before Sleep

The lateral vibrations caress me,
They leap and caress me,
They work pathetically in my favour,
They seek my financial good.

She of the spear stands present.
The gods of the underworld attend me, O Annubis,
These are they of thy company.
With a pathetic solicitude they attend me;
Undulant,
Their realm is the lateral courses.


Light!
I am up to follow thee, Pallas.
Up and out of their caresses.
You were gone up as a rocket,
Bending your passages from right to left and from left to right
In the flat projection of a spiral.
The gods of drugged sleep attend me,
Wishing me well;
I am up to follow thee, Pallas.

by Ezra Pound

Comments (3)

In addition, he doesnt want 'sympathy'. He accepts that he should be looked down with pity for he exchanged wisdom for money.
REPLY TO MR. HAGER: Apparently, the persona in the poem is a person who has a 'side job' that helps him in his financial needs. However, the persona seems to be unhappy with such work as it is not intellectually fulfilling. Thus, he seeks Pallas in his sleep...since it's only there that he will meet wisdom...only in his dreams.. I like the poem.
For 'pathetic/pathetically' read sympathetic/sympathetically. This INVOCATION poem curiously invokes the wrong goddess. Pallas (Athena) governs wisdom, war, and the practical arts. For a good night's sleep, one might better invoke Nyx, mother of night, or her son Hypnos, god of sleep....Words & phrases like 'rocket' and 'flat projection of a spiral' fail to 'modernize' the poem....Has some pretty lines but some awkward ones, too. Not among Pound's best.