Robert Hass

Robert Hass

Ezra Pound’s Proposition 

Beauty is sexual, and sexuality

Is the fertility of the earth and the fertility

Of the earth is economics.  Though he is no recommendation

For poets on the subject of finance,

I thought of him in the thick heat

Of the Bangkok night.  Not more than fourteen, she saunters up to


Outside the Shangri-la Hotel

And says, in plausible English,

“How about a party, big guy?” 

Here is more or less how it works:

The World Bank arranges the credit and the dam

Floods three hundred villages, and the villagers find their way

To the city where their daughters melt into the teeming streets,

And the dam’s great turbines, beautifully tooled

In Lund or Dresden or Detroit, financed

By Lazeres Freres in Paris or the Morgan Bank in New York,

Enabled by judicious gifts from Bechtel of San Francisco

Or Halliburton of Houston to the local political elite,

Spun by the force of rushing water,

Have become hives of shimmering silver

And, down river, they throw that bluish throb of light

Across her cheekbones and her lovely skin. 



From TIME AND MATERIALS (Ecco Press, 2007)



Poems by Robert Hass

Privilege of Being

Ezra Pound's Proposition

First Things at the Last Minute


The Problem of Describing Trees
(Available as a broadside.)