Ezra Pound, “Canto XLV ” from The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Copyright © 1993 by Ezra Pound. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
Source: Cantos of Ezra Pound (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1993)
Topics include: Humor, from Movies, Politicians, Weapons, Propaganda, Weapons, Historians, War and Peace, Shakespeare on War, Generals, Poetry and Fiction, Holy Bible, Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, Winning and Losing, Sir Winston Churchill, Presidents on War and Peace, Battles, Strategy, Winning and Losing. The book has inspiring and thought-provoking quotations from the Bible, Sun Tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, Churchill, Chairman Mao, Hillary Clinton, Presidents, and Generals.
Legal Americans have dreams to raise
Their families, safe, prosperous, secure.
They have contributed and followed laws,
They’ve risked and sacrificed, deserving praise,
While those who put them down are immature
As kids who still believe in Santa Claus.
The criminals have had their days of fun;
Let lawful citizens be Number One.
You’re free to worship as you please, and speak
Your mind about your leaders, travel where
You want to go, associate with weak
And strong, with poor and rich, to share and care
With others, to begin an enterprise,
To start or join a group, to marry one
You love and raise a family, to buy
And sell a house, a car, some land, a gun,
To run for public office, to delight
In privacy at home, humble abode,
To be tried fairly if you’re charged with crimes
And have a lawyer for defense, to fight
The government for rights, for changing codes:
You’re free, freer than men in any time.
“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
Benjamin Franklin: “A Republic, if you can keep it.” (1787)
In this land’s law, the Constitution is
Supreme, the highest law, authority
To which state courts and constitutions are
Subordinate, north, south, and sea to sea.
When We the People formed this government,
We emphasized the people’s right to rule,
Not Kings and Queens, with ways we could amend
The Constitution, the foundation, tool
In People’s hands not to be lightly changed,
A tool requiring constant vigilance
To keep the Union and establish Justice,
Keep peace at home, provide for our defense,
Promote the common Welfare, and secure
Liberty’s Blessings to ourselves and our
Posterity; and as no man is pure,
We formed three branches to check and balance power.
Stand for free speech, free press, the right to teach
Your child of lovingkindness and God’s kingdom;
The right to use your guns, so Tyranny
Won’t march you to a grave as a naked thing.
The power structure can’t infringe on rights
Of people to petition Government
To redress grievances, or to assemble
Peaceably to declare their discontent.
You can’t be forced to house a soldier, or,
If you are jailed, to pay excessive bail,
Or to relinquish worship of the Lord,
Or to lose work because you read in Braille.
Don’t let the government inside your home
Unless police have warrants in their hands;
You need not testify against your own
Self; Government must pay to take your lands.
You have the right to have a lawyer plea
Your case, protect your rights, and keep you free;
You have the rights to jury trial and
To counsel even if you can’t pay fees.
The warden cannot punish you with cruel,
Strange punishment–you’re not his chump or fool,
And you retain your right to worship God
And freely speak, within a prison’s rules.
The Feds must honor rights of fifty States
To legislate for citizens as they
Deem best, and people and the States retain
More rights than what the Bill of Rights contains.
The Government must honor equal rights
And Law’s due process for the citizens,
And courts interpret laws with oversight,
Enforcing rights of women, children, and men.
Keep this Republic, which is based upon
The Holy Bible and the Constitution,
And disregard connivers, cranks and cons
Who peddle hollow claims of new solutions.
The Founders knew about deceitful hearts,
How men and women mean well but go wrong,
And they relied on people to give thanks,
Seek wisdom, and obey the Lord, who’s strong.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The patriots who made America
Great did not shrink from challenges and some
Gave their own lives–not for vacation days
And pension plans–but for the right to live
And build and love, pursuing happiness
In freedom, saved from the king’s heavy hand.
Good government comes from sound reasoning
With principles that take account of law
And human needs as well as stewardship
Of resources to meet today’s demand,
Pay debts and keep reserves for rainy days.
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights
Protect the people from abuses that
An overzealous and tyrannical
Agency or official could inflict
On citizens, who have less power than
The forces that the government can wield.
Shall government expand its reach, or stay
Within its present limits? Private groups
And companies: What influence should
They have on the decisions made for all?
What happened to states’ rights, the concept that
The States would have more power than the Feds
Except for certain areas prescribed
For them, such as the military, roads,
Post offices, treaties with other lands?
Shall not the States have rights to educate
Their citizens as they think best for them?
The President lets endless wars drag on
Like wounded beasts limping to waterholes.
He looks at profit, not the cost in lives,
And the Joint Chiefs refine their schemes for more.
What is this right of privacy that Roe
Invented to allow the baby deaths
By tens of millions, Moloch’s barbarism?
And Congress, like a boy who stubbornly
Refuses to perform his chores, has given up
Its power to declare a war . . . or not.
Without the fear of God to curb desires,
Men take the lowest, quickest roads, and men
Lose touch with lovingkindness, empathy,
And senses of fair play that drive most people.
Rogue agents and the Deep State, aided by
Some corporations linked to billionaires,
Usurp the rule of law and warp the press
So that the legal system can’t control,
Deter, or prosecute their monstrous crimes.
To have the innocents be massacred
And profit thus from short sale of the stock–
Such evil go unpunished often, which
Encourages more crime throughout the world.
Elected representatives decide
That they’ll pretend the land and money grabs
Do not take place–or they’re too compromised
To write the laws or take the actions that
Would stop the greedy globalists, who plan
To herd the masses into megacities
And social-engineer each person’s life.
The Fourth Estate, which once held government
To close account for questionable deals,
Too biased to investigate without
Regard to parties, and too indolent
To stray from corporate narratives, becomes
A hiding place for “journalists” who have
Poor ethics, while the independent press,
Still impecunious, has forged first-class
Fresh work that goes where cowards cowering
In mainstream pressrooms are afraid to go.
Who will arise to battle tyranny,
The many-headed serpent with forked tongue,
Gorged on its gold and power and control?
Sleeper, awake, help win the worthy fight.
“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.”
Thomas Jefferson, Man of Liberty
At nine, I studied Latin, Greek and French,
And Homer, Tacitus, the law, John Locke,
And always carried my Greek grammar text.
I studied fifteen hours a day–hard work.
I studied architecture and designed
And built Monticello, where I could read
And write and drink my silky, soft, smooth wine
My agent shipped me from Marseille with speed.
What can men do when taxes are too high?
Buckle like cowards or put up a fight?
Bright men, strong nerves, each risked his life
For a people’s government and for our rights.
1776: The Declaration of Independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident,”
The words I wrote with my favorite quill pen,
Rights from the Creator of women and men,
“Unalienable” – there! I’ve said it again.
I wrote that England’s king had made a mess,
That life and liberty and the pursuit
Of happiness were rights which God had blessed
All men with, which the king sought to uproot.
1777: The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom
I drafted the Virginia Statute for
Religious Freedom, which begins “Whereas,
Almighty God hath created the mind free”
And states “our civil rights have no dependence”
On our opinions of religion any
More than our physics and geometry
Opinions, and that “Truth is great, and will
Prevail” if left alone, therefore law
No longer will compel a man to aid
A certain ministry but that all men
Shall have the freedom to profess, and by
Argument to maintain, their own opinions
In matters of Religion, and their views
Shall in no way diminish, augment or
Affect their civil scope and power, and
Th’Assembly did declare these rights to be
Natural rights of mankind, so that
If this Act were repealed, it would infringe
On those same natural rights; when drafters came
To Philadelphia and looked for guides
To write the Constitution, they esteemed
This Act so much that they embodied it
With a clause: “but no religious test
Shall ever be required” to qualify
To any office or a public trust
In the United States–which pleased me well.
For on these questions, men are fallible.
Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781–83
Can a land’s liberties be thought secure
When we have taken their sole sound foundation:
Conviction in the people’s minds, assured
These are God’s gifts and that to violate
The Lord’s benevolence and breach his trust
Would anger him, like Pharaoh and the Red Sea?
Now when I contemplate that God is just,
From what I’ve seen, I tremble for my country.
The blood of tyrants and oppressors, so dear,
Must from time to time refresh the Freedom Tree
What country can preserve its liberties
If people don’t preserve the rebel spirit?
The Bill of Rights
That Constitution has some good parts,
Mr. Madison, you’ve made a fine start,
To raise it to the level of fine art,
Give it a Bill of Rights, give it a heart
For individuals, so government
Can’t overbear and take God-given rights:
Free speech, no searches with no warrant,
Freedom to worship Divinity’s light,
Right to bear arms, to congregate
As to what the government has done or may
Do, right to counsel, not to incriminate
Themselves, let law’s due process go its way.
And Mr. Madison took my advice
So that the rights were written and precise.
1803: Louisiana Purchase
Nap’s offer was too great for us to say
No, for it doubled the U.S.’s size
At three cents for an acre, yes, we’ll pay:
Good deal, no matter how it’s scrutinized.
“For our whole lives, this is our noblest work,
The U.S. now is among the power of the first rank,”
Said Livingston, the Minister to France,
“We did it with help from an English bank.”
1803–1806: Lewis and Clark
What’s in the West? The maps were dark
I commissioned two men, Lewis and Clark
Get me samples of wildlife, plants, bark.
Tell me of eagles, hawks, river birds and larks,
Is there a waterway to the western coast?
That is what I want to know the most.
Bring plants and seeds of which the region boasts;
Make this an expedition that we can toast.
Sally and I aren’t items in the news
We keep it private, actions that we do,
No one has forced her–it is what she chooses
To do, let us be or I’ll question you.
1801–1805: The Barbary Pirates
The pirates boarded, daggers in both hands
And between the teeth, and sailors, scared,
Gave up the ships, gave up command,
Were sold as slaves; I, President, declared
I’d end their ransom scam, white slavery
In the Islamic realms had to desist;
The cost in lives and merchandise was dear
Too much was flowing to Islamic fists.
For the nation’s budget one-fifth goes
To ransom, mil. a year, is much too grave
To pay the tribute pirates have imposed.
These pirates turn our sailors into slaves
Hard labor hell for so-called infidels–
We’ll send Marines to clean, so lives are saved
Decatur sailed with frigates full
Of fighters who took the pirates to their graves.
He stormed a ship and overpowered foes,
The age’s boldest and most daring act,
And the Marines took Derna, which was close
To Tripoli, which we would have attacked,
So Yusuf Karamanli had to sign
A treaty to conclude hostilities
And free enslaved Americans to dine
In the United States as they might please.
1817: University of Virginia
A university on an extensive
And liberal scale I had conceived while I
Served as third President, one that would give
Students the knowledge cup, with no requirement
To know a catechism. They could read
Ancient or modern languages, or law,
Medicine, mathematics, chemistry,
Or in philosophy. The tragic flaw
In other universities, I said:
They were religious schools, and I was firm
That higher education not be wed
To a religious doctrine any term.
1826: Life’s End
God gave us liberty when he gave life
(Time wastes too fast, our precious passing lives),
John Adams lives this Fourth of July,
And Independence thrives . . . now I can die.
And on his epitaph, which he designed:
Nothing about his Presidency; instead
The Declaration, which he wrote and signed,
Virginia’s University (he led
With how he had conceived curriculum)
And Statute for Religious Freedom of
Virginia, law designed to overcome
Prejudice for beliefs–labors of love.
Here was buried
Author of the Declaration of American Independence
of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom
& Father of the University of Virginia
“because by these,” he explained, “as testimonials that I have lived, I wish most to be remembered.”
Jefferson further instructed that the monument was to be made of “coarse stone … that no one might be tempted hereafter to destroy it for the value of the materials.”
Love is sweet.
Love is kind.
Love’s a beat
When we unwind.
Love is lush.
Love is warm.
Love will brush
Your hair in storms.
Love is swift.
Love is slow.
Love’s a gift
That goes and goes.
Love is wet.
Love is dry.
Love’s a bet
On two hot dice.
Love grabs hold
Of lonesome hearts
And forms a mold:
Love will stand
When others sway.
Love is you.
Love is me.
Love is blue
When you aren’t free.
Love is young.
Love is old.
Love is sung.
Love is gold.
Love is blind.
Love makes me sing.
With angels’ wings.
Love is baby steps
And giant leaps.
Love can ebb.
Love’s for keeps.
Love is “A”.
Love is “Z”.
Love will claim
Love is spunk.
Love is grit.
Love is funk.
Love won’t quit.
Love’s a breeze.
Love is sweat.
Love’s a tease.
Love’s a wound
That never heals.
When we kneel.
Love is Christ
On a cross,
Who for our vice
Paid the cost.
Love’s a flame
You must tend.
Love’s a game
With your best friend.
Love is space
Where planets whirl.
Love’s a place
For boys and girls.
Love’s a friend
Through sky, on ground.
Love is men
Who stick around.
Love is free.
Love is sweet.
Love is Jesus
When You Gain Wealth
When you gain wealth
Don’t be so proud
That you forget
Who brought you out.
1 Satan rose up toward Israel and he
Spurred David to enumerate the people
Of Israel. 2 So David said to Joab
And troop commanders, “Go count Israelites
From Beersheba down to Dan. Then come
Report to me so that I may know how
Many there are,” 3 but Joab answered, “May
God multiply his troops a hundred times
Over. My lord the king, aren’t they all my
Lord’s subjects? Why does my lord want to do
This? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?”
4 But the king’s order overruled what Joab
Had said, so Joab left and went throughout
The land of Israel, then came back to
Jerusalem, 5 and he reported to
David the number of the fighting men:
In Israel there were one million and
One hundred thousand men who could engage
In swordfights, and of these four hundred and
Seventy thousand were in Judah, 6 but
Joab omitted Benjamin and Levi
While numbering, because the king’s command
Repulsed him. 7 This command was evil too
In God’s sight; so he punished Israel.
8 Then David said to God, “I’ve greatly sinned
By doing this. I beg you, take away
Your servant’s guilt. I’ve done a foolish thing.”
9 The LORD told David’s seer named Gad, 10 “Go tell
David, ‘The LORD says this: I’m giving you
Three options. Choose one option that I will
Work out against you.’” 11 Therefore Gad went to
See David and told him, “The LORD says: ‘Take
Your choice: 12 three years of famine, three months of
Being swept offbefore your enemies,
With their swords overtaking you, or else
Three days of God’s sword—days of plague within
The land, with the LORD’s angel ravaging
Each part of Israel.’ Now then, decide
How I should answer to the one who sent
Me.” 13 David said to Gad, “I am distressed.
Let me fall in God’s hands, because his mercy
Is great; but do not let me fall into
Some human hands.” 14 God therefore sent a plague
On Israel, and seventy thousand
Men out of Israel fell dead, 15 and God
Sent down an angel to annihilate
Jerusalem, but as the angel was
Acting, the LORD saw it and he relented
Concerning the disaster and he told
The angel who was wiping people out,
“Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of
The LORD was standing at the threshing floor
Of Araunahthe Jebusite, 16 and David
Looked up and saw the angel of the LORD
Standing between the heavens and the earth,
With a drawn sword in hand stretched out above
Jerusalem. Then David and the elders,
Clothed in sackcloth, fell facedown. 17 David said
To God, “Was it not I who ordered that
The fighting men be counted? I, the shepherd,
Have sinned and done wrong. These are but the sheep.
What have they done? O LORD my God, let your
Hand fall on me and my own family,
But do not let this plague remain upon
Your people.” 18 Then God’s angel ordered Gad
To counsel David to go up and build
The LORD an altar on the threshing floor
Of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 So David
Obeyed the word that Gad had spoken in
God’s name, and went, 20 and while Araunah was
Threshing his wheat, he turned and saw the angel;
His four sons who were with him hid themselves.
21 Then David came, and when Araunah looked
And saw the king, he left the threshing floor
And bowed before him with his face to ground.
22 David said to him, “Let me have the site
Here of your threshing floor so I can build
An altar to the LORD, so that the plague
That’s on the people may be stopped. Sell it
To me at the full price.” 23 Araunah said
To David, “Take it! Let my lord the king
Do what will please him. Look, I will give oxen
For the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges
For wood, and wheat for the grain offering.
I will give all this.” 24 But King David told
Araunah, “No, I must insist I pay
The full price. I will not take for the LORD
That which is yours, or sacrifice a burnt
Offering that does not cost me a thing.”
25 So David paid Araunah gold, six hundred
Shekels’ worth, for the site, 26 and David built
An altar to the LORD there and there he
Sacrificed his burnt offerings and his
Fellowship offerings. He called upon
The LORD, who answered him with fire from heaven
Upon the altar of burnt offering.
27 The LORD spoke to the angel, and he sheathed
His sword. 28 When David saw the LORD had answered
Him on the Jebusite Araunah’s floor,
His threshing floor, he offered sacrifices
Right there. 29 The tabernacle of the LORD,
Which Moses built in desert, and the altar
Of the burnt offering were at that time
On the high place at Gibeon. 30 But David
Could not go there before it to inquire
Of God, because the angel of the LORD
Scared him, as he might smite him with his sword.