Ezra Pound’s ‘garret’.

The Garrett

Come, let us pity those who are better off than we are.
Come, my friend, and remember
      that the rich have butlers and no friends,
And we have friends and no butlers.
Come, let us pity the married and the unmarried.

Dawn enters with little feet
      like a gilded Pavlova
And I am near my desire.
Nor has life in it aught better
Than this hour of clear coolness
      the hour of waking together.


Pound’s tiny room in Kensington wasn’t literally a garret; it was on the first floor.

‘Garret’ is simply a metaphor for a very small, very cheap room.

The spirit of the poem is the spirit of boheme, the same spirit that inspired Van Gogh’s ‘Artist’s Studio at Arles’ – where the studio was effectively a bedsit.

All of this is the opposite to the spirit – or lack of it – evinced in the odius Philip Larkin poem ‘Mr Bleaney’, in which the single room is seen as evidence of materialist failure.

Bury Bleaney with a volume of Larkin, ‘bedfellows’ forever – to namecheck Don Paterson’s follow-on poem – and blessings and inspiration to the one-room artists of the gnostic carnival.

Photo: Max Reeves


About Niall McDevitt

Niall McDevitt > poet > author of b/w (Waterloo Press, 2010) and Porterloo (International Times, 2012) > urban explorer > radical pedestrian who leads Shakespeare/Blake/Rimbaud /Yeats walks, among others.
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