Carpe Diem’s Distillation #5, Ezra Pound’s ”The River-Merchant’s Wife”

This Carpe Diem challenge is to distill Ezra Pound’s poem ”The River-Merchant’s Wife” into haiku.

The River-Merchant’s Wife
by Ezra Pound

While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.
You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,
You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.
And we went on living in the village of Chokan:
Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.

At fourteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever and forever.
Why should I climb the lookout?

At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-en, by the river of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.

You dragged your feet when you went out.
By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,
Too deep to clear them away!
The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me. I grow older.
If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
As far as Cho-fo-Sa.

My Distillation

800px-Smoky_and_Peace_riversImage by Mhalifu

love’s river flowing
fast and shallow, slow and deep
rain drop, to ocean

Smiles, love and laughter

© John Belchamber 2013

If you like these Haiku, visit JRB’s Haiku Gifts


About jrbsays

Just a regular married father of three type of guy. Writer of Haiku, founder of and other bits and other bobs.
This entry was posted in Carpe Diem, Haiku and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Carpe Diem’s Distillation #5, Ezra Pound’s ”The River-Merchant’s Wife”

  1. The entire journey… symbolic and very craftily written. 🙂


  2. Ye Pirate says:

    A nice global theme – but in very lyrical haiku. Quite beautiful really.


  3. Nice distillation-haiku JRB … very well done … you have caught the essence of the whole poem by Ezra Pound. Great job!


  4. Very well done… a very nice haiku


  5. you could float along way on the symbolism alone. A delightful journey (as long as the sun is out)


  6. Sun says:

    how beautiful you made this distillation flow using nature as the example. really enjoyed this one. thanks.


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