I. Sho-Sho Hakkei Tegakami: Eight Views of XiaoXiang.
Pound received a scroll book with the Eight Views of XiaoXiang [Japanese: Sho-Sho Hakkei tegakami] from his parents some time before 1 March 1928. The book was produced in Japan (Sho-Sho is the Japanese translation of the XiaoXiang, whereas tegakami means scrollbook, album), yet the “Views” were a literary and painterly genre initiated in China in the 11th century: eight landscapes of the Xiang river and Dongting Lake in the Hunan province. See more in Resources. The book that Pound had as his family heirloom was a series of 8 triptychs with an ink painting framed by a poem in Chinese on the right and one in Japanese on the left. Pao Swen Tseng, a Chinese missionary and teacher from Hunan, visited Pound in Rapallo some time around 17 May 1928 and informally translated the Chinese poems to the poet while he was taking notes (Palandri 51; Qian Chinese Friends 9-17). Miss Tseng did not take the Japanese poems into account. Pound copied out an English paraphrase on 30 July for his father but did not mail the letter (Palandri 53). See Calendar.
Fig. 1. Recto. Inner cover. Rain on the Xiao and Xiang. Chinese calligraphy in regular script; Image and Japanese poem. Autumn Moon over Lake Dongting. Chinese calligraphy in clerical script; Image and Japanese poem. Follow and read vertically right to left.
Night Rain in Sho-Sho
The empty river first of all grieves my soul so easily.
Frozen cloud is sticking to rain dampening the twilight.
Under the lonely lamp beneath the thatch I hear pipes and strings.
I only turn to a bamboo branch and add my teardrops.
Autumn Moon on Lake Dotei
The west wind is driving the mist against the evening sky,
The hazy waves on the vast water are bathed in the fragrant olive blossoms.
The whistling from the fishing boat does not know the travelers gloom.
A wind just wafts the cold silhouette and passes the reed blossoms by.
Fig.2. Evening Bell from a Mist-Shouded Temple. Chinese Calligraphy in regular script; image and Japanese poem. Sailboats returning from Distant Shore. Chinese calligraphy in cursive script; image and Japanese poem. Inner cover. Follow and read vertically right to left.
Evening Bell of a Misty Temple
No one can see the temple, hidden in the cloud
The heavy sound of its bell is resounding as if talking to the evening wind,
That it is not near nor far above,
Only that it is in the mountain.
Sailboat Returning of Far-Off Shore
There is a tinge of Autumn about the white herons on the blue mountains.
The water is flat but the silver waves flow along the sky.
A returning mast comes slowly into reed blossoms and off.
His home is above the River toward the setting sun
Fig. 3. Verso. Outer cover. Mist over Mountain Town. Chinese calligraphy in seal script; image and Japanese poem. River and Sky in Evening Snow. Chinese calligraphy in semi-cursive script; image and Japanese poem. Follow and read vertically right to left.
Mist over a Mountain Town
A wine flag on the pole is in the slanting sun.
Some houses are in the mist.
Intoxicated on the mountain road, I come home late.
Not a day is without peace and spring wind
Evening Snowfall over the River
From the colorless clouds in the low sky, the jewel dust is flying.
I crouch in a small leaf-like boat in a poetic mood.
From an inlet above, the squeaking of an oar.
I imagine another man in rapture there behind the mountain.
Fig. 4. Wild Geese Descending to Sand bar. Chinese calligraphy in cursive script; image and Japanese poem. Sunset over Fishing Village. Chinese calligraphy in seal script; image and Japanese poem. Outer cover. Follow and read vertically right to left.
Wild Geese Plummeting to the Flat Sands
They dot the sky with old ideograms in thin black ink.
The autumn geese in lines fly down to the cold beach.
Reed blossoms in Koyo look much like snow.
Deceived they shake their frozen feathers in the setting sun.
Sunset Glow over a Fishing Village
Twilight bewilders the crows that swarm on the sandy beach.
In north and south of the River are clamors of fish and shrimps.
Calling a boy to buy wine, we all get drunk.
Lying I see the west wind set the reed blossoms dancing.
[Signature of the calligrapher] Genryu
Note. The above images are digital reproductions of the tegakami facsimile produced by Maria Costanza Ferrero De Luca, who describes it in detail ( Ezra Pound e il Canto dei Sette Laghi. Reggio Emilia: Diabasis, 2004. 10-11).
Grateful acknowledgment to Mary de Rachewiltz, Brunnenburg, Italy, for permission to present the images here.
“The story of what Pound’s canto 49 owes to the screen book he received from his parents in early 1928 has been told and retold many times. A relic from Japan, the fourteen-fold screen book consists of two endpapers, two covers, eight ink paintings, eight poems in Chinese and eight poems in Japanese, mutually representing eight classic views about the shores of the Xiao and Xiang rivers in central South China.”
Zhaoming Qian. Modernist Response, 123.
“The album (tekagami) is thus made up of twenty-four panels in which each painting is framed by two poetic texts in different scripts. The physical layout of the album in a concertina format invites most Western readers to adapt customary reading patterns, reading from ‘front’ to ‘back,’ two panels at a time, when instead it is correct to view the album as a series of triptychs, starting from the ‘back’ and working to the ‘front,’ turning the album over and working back to the point of commencement.”
Mark Byron. “In a Station of the Cantos,” 144.
Reproductions of the tegakami:
- Ferrero De Luca, Maria Costanza, ed. Ezra Pound e il Canto dei Sette Laghi. Reggio Emilia: Diabasis, 2004. This study includes the full colour facsimile of the screen book that Pound received from his parents.
- Richard Dean Taylor “Appendix” to his essay “Cantos XLIX the Fourth Dimension.” The Appendix provides an interlinear of the canto and the paraphrase (from Pound’s unsent letter to his father, 28 July 1928).
The online version of the Appendix also includes reproductions of all the paintings in Pound’s scroll book. Click on the icons to see enlargements. See whole article here.
Zhaoming Qian has provided black and white images from the scroll book in his book, The Modernist Response to Chinese Art. Full triptych for “Night Rain.” Reproductions of the paintings for the other poems. The paintings are also reproduced in his article on canto 49 in Ezra Pound and China.
Qian, Zhaoming. “Pound’s Seven Lakes Canto.” In The Modernist Response to Chinese Art. Pound, Moore, Stevens. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003. 123-140: 128-33.
Qian, Zhaoming. “Painting into Poetry: Pound’s Seven Lakes Canto.” Ezra Pound and China. Ed. Zhaoming Qian. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan Press, 2003. 72-95.
- Mark Byron has provided high quality colour reproductions for “Autumn Moon” and “Fishing Village in the Twilight Glow.”
Byron, Mark. “In a Station of the Cantos: Ezra Pound’s ‘Seven Lakes’ Canto and the Shō-Shō Hakkei Tekagami.” Literature & Aesthetics 22.2 (2012): 138-152: 145, 146. Free online.
II. “Auspicious Clouds.” [Chinese: Ch’ing-yun ko; Japanese: Kei Wun Ka]. Ancient Chinese Song in Fu, Sheng. Shangshu dazhuan. Great Tradition of the Book of the Documents (尚書大傳). ctext.
Japanese transcription taken from Fenollosa’s notes of his sessions on the history of Chinese poetry with Prof. Mori on 4 June 1901.
Reproduced in Hugh Kenner. “More on the Seven Lakes Canto.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 2.1 (1973): 45.
ch’ing yün la hsi
Chiu man man hsi
Jih yüeh kuang hua
Tan fu tan his
Note: Chinese text and transliteration in Wade/Giles in Achilles Fang, “Fenollosa and Pound” 231.
III. Clod Beating Song. Ancient Chinese poem. [W/G: Chi-yang ko; Japanese: Geki jo ka] Fenollosa’s notes of his sessions on Chinese poetry with Prof. Mori on 28 May 1901.
Reproduced in Hugh Kenner. “More on the Seven Lakes Canto.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 2.1 (1973): 45-6.
Jī rǎng gē
Rì chū ér zuò,
rì rù ér xī
záo jǐng ér yǐn,
gēng tián ér shí,
dì lì yú wǒ hé yǒuzāi
Chinese source text transliteration and translations in Sanehide Kodama. “The Eight Scenes of Sho-Sho.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 6.2 (1977): 131-45 and アメリカ文学における日本との接点: エズラ [Japanese Culture in American Literature: The Case of Ezra Pound’s Cantos]. 同志社アメリカ研究 [Doshisha American Studies] (同志社大学アメリカ研究所 [Center for American Studies, Doshisha University]) 12 (25 Mar. 1976) 51-64. Sho Sho and Dotei are the Japanese versions of Xiao Xiang and (Lake) Dongting. Digital transcription of Chinese characters by Archie Henderson, July 2022.
Hugh Kenner did not include the Japanese transcription for the Clod Beating Song since Pound did not use it for the canto.
The most thorough and detailed study of the literary aspect of Pound’s sources for canto 49 was made by Sanehide Kodama (Paideuma 6.2 (1977) and Maria Costanza Ferrero de Luca (2004)).
Note on Sources