Erat Hora is Latin for “That was the hour.” This poem is not only an adoration of the fleeting muse (Pound embraced unrequited love so long as it inspired his poetry), but also an ode to a moment that is so pure and permanent that it transcends the linear structure of time, encompassing eternity. Its delicate imagery, eloquent simplicity and pointed brevity make it one of my favorites.
“Thank you, whatever comes.” And then she turned
And, as the ray of sun on hanging flowers
Fades when the wind hath lifted them aside,
Went swiftly from me. Nay, whatever comes
One hour was sunlit and the most high gods
May not make boast of any better thing
Than to have watched that hour as it passed.
by Ezra Pound (1885-1972)
He carried her a rose on a bicycle, through a snowstorm,
across a bay of splintering ice. She kindly let him down.
So much floods between two lovers you can wring them together
like two oil rags and ten thousand birds will spill their guts.
One by one the people made of onyx snuffed their torches. Looked.
The sharp, invasive shape of the moon: a hook in the lip of the dark.
We are here for such a short moment—so sweet, so easily
forgotten—laugh, weep, make love on a lily pad in a pond of honey.
There was screaming, and a big smack like a god had slipped
on the golden sky-lit floor; and in the cave of her mouth a small fire.
He came back to collect his things: axe, gaff hook, half
the coal and two wolf pelts. Loaded the canoe and left the baby.
by Ryan Dowling