And the days are not full enough

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
                Not shaking the grass.

Ezra Pound (1885-1972) – Lustra (1916)

This poem says a lot about the transience of life in a few, simple words.

It starts with the word “and” to sound like the conclusion of a speech, of a thought or rumination that has been going on for some time.

The careful use of repetition and parallelism in the first two lines reproduces the monotony of day after day life, and prepares for the change in the last lines. The words “not full enough” suggest that we do not use life to its full potential:  our days could be spent more fruitfully.

Then, suddenly, we realize life is too short to be relied upon, it never gives us all the time to be and do what we want to. This is achieved through the only image of the poem which draws reference to nature and a mouse, and illustrates how fleeting life is: it quickly “slips by“,  as insignificant and irrelevant as that of a mouse.

Therefore, we should make use of life to its full potential and of our time wisely: life is to be enjoyed and lived in every moment.

E i giorni non sono abbastanza pieni
e le notti non sono abbastanza piene
e la vita scivola via come un topo di campagna
che non fa muovere l’erba.

33 thoughts on “And the days are not full enough

  1. Molto bella. Ezra Pound fu aspramente criticato per anni e ora, finalmente, accolto come poeta senza pregiudizi.
    Grazie Luisa.
    Buon fine settimana.
    Mi muovo tra casa e studio per disegnare , passando tra i box.
    Questo cambio di casa, solo pochi anni fa, per fare “casa e bottega”, in questo tempo lo penso come un fatto provvidenziale!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh yes dear Luisa, to know it “slips by” like a mouse. True! and thanks for bringing up this from such a great poetess. 🙏💖
    PS: you know, nowadays a famous minister in Germany had been suddenly died, he was in the same age as I am; 66 and was fit and healthy as I am! 😜 we must enjoy every moment of our life. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t heard yet! I’m so sorry for him
      While translating the poem into Italian, I thought about its meaning and told myself that unfortunately in this period I am not enjoying life, since we are on a sort of standby, and in the meantime life “slips by”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ezra Pound. The controversial political life he embraced sometimes overshadow the beauty and simplicity of his poetry. As in art, sometimes, it is the few simple lines that can express such magnitude of emotion. It is a rare genius that can express such complexity of thought in such simple lines. Good choice Luisa.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is so true. In the past few months it feels like the days are just blurring into one another barely getting any semblance of the beginning and end of the day. Only recently when I inserted nee things that give me life into my routine that everything made more sense.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a beautiful reflection!
      The same thing is happening to me too, since the threat of Covid is preventing me from doing everything I had previously loved doing. In the past my days were also marked by some social commitments that I had to abolish

      Liked by 2 people

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