Scene 6.

(LIGHTS UP on POUND, lecturing, chalk in hand, at the BLACKBOARD.  His auditors are two men and one woman, who will eventually become the VORTICISTS.  These three sit at the English tea-shop table, sipping tea.   A great tiered tray of cakes and pastries in the centre of their table.  The VORTICISTS listen to POUND, but not attentively.  It is not quite clear if he is lecturing to them, the audience, or himself.  GAUDIER and the HEAD are gone.)

POUND:  A musician I know once asked me if there was any one single place I could go to, as a poet, to get it all, all of the techniques of poetry, as he, as a musician, could go to Bach and learn everything there is to learn about the techniques of music.  And I replied that there was only one man you could conceivably go to, to get it all.  Daddy Homer.  He alone, in either the Odyssey or the Iliad, could as near as dammit give you everything you need to know about the three vital factors.... (writes the three words on the BLACKBOARD)

MELOPOIEA.....  - Sound!

PHANOPOIEA... - Light!

LOGOPOIEA...... - Meaning!

Or, if you prefer, Sound, Image, and Mind.  (taps board, turns to VORTICISTS)  I never  read even a short passage of Homer in the Greek but that I learn something of melopoiea.  (underlines the term on the board)  Melopoiea!  The music words make.  Let a man think that he knows it all - and he really must try to know it all, cadence, assonance, rhyme delayed or polyphonic - I defy him to read a few pages of Homer without learning something new about the music words can make.  “Para thina poluphloisboio thalasses - the turn of a wave as it rattles the pebbles and recedes - translate THAT into English, if you fancy you have an ear.  Melopoiea...

(one of the VORTICISTS, the woman, claps rather languidly, and he turns and grins at her thinly  before continuing)

POUND:  (tapping the word on the board)  PHANOPOIEA.  Our second factor.  The throwing of the visual image - light - upon the screen of the mind.   The quality of the cinematic projection screen - except that  no cinema screen can hope to match up to it.  The IMAGISM of poetry if you will - using an image that is constantly generating ideas, yet seems hard and perfect enough to touch - an image made of words, of air.  For a supreme example of this, go to the Iliad at the point where Achilles traps the Trojans in a ford of the river Scamander, and butchers them there, and the revenge of Xanthus, the river-god, for the bloody fouling of his waters... or, say, when Hector’s baby shrinks at the terrible horsehair crest of his father’s helmet, so that Hector has to take it off... it would take a dozen paintings to convey the complexity of emotions and ideas conveyed in that image.  It is precisely this cinematic quality that is lacking in Homer’s imitator, the secondrate windbag Milton.  Maybe because the poor old sod was blind - which is about all he has in common with Daddy Homer, master of us all.  It is the quality Dante had supremely - phanopoiea.  (underlines it)

(one of the VORTICISTS applauds)

POUND:  Ai thenk yew, lidies an’ jints...  but to continue.  Which brings us to LOGOPOIEA (taps word)  The third ‘un.  For those of thus who have not the Greek I am forced to go into our homegrown technical master, Willie the Shake.  LOGOPOIEA.  The quality of mind - the THOUGHT expressed within the sound and image.  The test of the greatest literature is to see how much meaning has been crammed into the briefest number of lines - load every rift with ore, as your man Keats put it.  Pray, then, listen to the grace spoken by Mr. Shakespeare’s cynic, Apemantus, at the goody-laden table of Timon of Athens:

“Immortal gods, I crave no pelf

I pray for no man but my self.

Grant I may never be so fond

to trust a man on his oath or bond

or a harlot for her weeping

or a dog that seems a-sleeping

or a keeper with my freedom

or my friends if I should need ‘em.

Amen; so fall to’t:

rich man sin, and I eat root.”

And since that just about covers everything in the space of ten lines, I rather suppose I had better.... shut up. 

(he BOWS briefly and comes over to sit with them as they give him a smattering of applause.  Eating begins abruptly: cakes are selected and grabbed.  POUND grabs a huge pastry and starts to eat it greedily, washing it down with tea.)

2nd VORTICIST:  Did I miss much?  I tried to get here before you started...

3rd VORTICIST:  These poems of H.D.’s... (waves poems which POUND grabs)

1st VORTICIST: (embarrassed: the poems are hers)  O, well, now....

POUND:  (gulping down a mouthful to interrupt)   Now you take these poems of H.D.’s.  They prove my point about phanopoiea exactly: they show mastery of the image, they are IMAGIST poetry... (patting her)  And since I am aware that H.D. feeds off rather French sources I must perforce call them IMAGISTE... (bangs his fist on the poems on the table)

1st VORTICIST:  O, call ‘em what you like...  Feel free...

2nd VORTICIST:  As you and H.D. have the misfortune to be Yanks I can hardly blame you, my friends, for wanting to become Frogs...

(all laugh, except POUND)

POUND:  (insistent)  No, no, my brothers and sister poets, I am not joking.  I will tell you in French if you like: nous sommes les imagistes... (waving her poems)

3rd VORTICIST:  (toasting with tea)  Why not?  It sounds better in French - we shall proclaim to HELL with Rabbit Brooke - and his little droppings...

POUND: (as they laugh)  It will be US against the world - us IMAGISTES - and by God we will give them Rupert Brooke...