tallchick

Pound of Flesh

19 posts in this topic

I think this may be one of those songs with a multitude of meanings.

She obviously makes a reference to Ezra Pound which on wikipedia says "was an American expatriate poet, critic and intellectual who was a major figure of the Modernist movement in the first half of the 20th century"

so I get that line "asked me if I read his own"

It also has another meaning in the lines:

"If you’re never sorry, then you can’t be forgiven.

If you’re not forgiven, then you can’t be forgotten.

If you’re not forgotten, then you can live forever.

If you live forever,

then you begin to dream of death, death, death, death, death."

It just makes so much sense and I think that this is very true.

Well I dont have much interpretation of this song so I would LOVE if you guys could give me your take on it because I think it's one of my favorites from regina. It's just brilliantly written.

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I think this may be one of those songs with a multitude of meanings.

She obviously makes a reference to Ezra Pound which on wikipedia says "was an American expatriate poet, critic and intellectual who was a major figure of the Modernist movement in the first half of the 20th century"

so I get that line "asked me if I read his own"

It also has another meaning in the lines:

"If you’re never sorry, then you can’t be forgiven.

If you’re not forgiven, then you can’t be forgotten.

If you’re not forgotten, then you can live forever.

If you live forever,

then you begin to dream of death, death, death, death, death."

It just makes so much sense and I think that this is very true.

Well I dont have much interpretation of this song so I would LOVE if you guys could give me your take on it because I think it's one of my favorites from regina. It's just brilliantly written.

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I haven't really listened to this song enough to develop my own "take" on it... But the lyrics are absolutely fascinating. I love the 'chain reaction' going from "If you're never sorry" all the way to "Ezra Pound will sit upon your bed..."

The whole notion of "What's a pound of flesh between friends?" is, to me, a really misguided and dark take on the rut some people get themselves into by trying harder to please people than they do to care for themselves. The Ezra Pound scenario being warned against is described as having happened to the narrator, so the speaker is aware of the dangers of this kind of self-sacrifice.

The "If" series is, to me, a really cool presentation of a theme of all of our actions having consequences.

As for the significance of Ezra Pound, I prefer not to overthink that. That choice could have just been a play on words with "Pound of Flesh," allowing for the sinisterly humorous lines recounting the 'small talk' about literature.

I'm sure that as I listen to this song some more, all of my ideas about it will change. Razzer But for now, these are my thoughts.

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i did a bit of research, and found some interesting things-though i am not sure what to make of them.

ezra pound was, like you said, a poet/critic/intellectual. but interestingly, he was also a known anti-semite.

and the phrase "pound of flesh" is a literary reference to Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. Shylock (a jew) wants a "pound of flesh" as payment from Antonio if he doesn't pay him back in time.

could this song really be about antisemitism?

and i also got the impression that she is warning us about the dangers of trying too hard to please others.

...but that's all i have, haha. where to go from here? someone has to take up the trail!

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Okay that's confusing... A known anti-semite making the same request made by a literary extreme Jew stereotype. Hypocrisy seems to be playing a role here...

Wow weirdness: While I'm writing this, I'm listening to the 30-second samples of the songs that came up recommended on my iTunes Genius. The song "Celebrity Skin" by Hole came up, and the sample ends with the line "I'm glad I came here with your pound of flesh." What a crazy coincidence.

Anyway, back to the song. So Pounds' hypocrisy seems connected to the "If you're never sorry" business... Hmm...

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quote:
Originally posted by ThisIsHowItWorks:

The "If" series is, to me, a really cool presentation of a theme of all of our actions having consequences.

I've been playing [listening to] this song a lot this week - so catchy and great. The series of 'Ifs' is really interesting in that you have to figure out whether the 'cause' and the 'effect' are positive or negative, and the way they're presented throws that all into confusion. Eg we all want to be forgiven, but what if it means we're going to then be forgotten? And would it be good to live forever?

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That song fascinates me so much and I would like to share some thoughts. Smiler

First, Regina makes a reference to Ezra Pound.

Ezra Pound was, like everyone said, an American expatriate poet and.. an anti-semite.

One of his most significant work is "Los cantos": a very very long and incomprehensible poem.

It's a controversial work, partly because it shows his support for Mussolini's fascism. However, I think it's important to know that before his death, Ezra Pound said: "The worst mistake I made was that stupid, suburban prejudice of anti-semitism."

When Regina sings: "Ezra pound sat upon my bed asked me which books as of late I've read, asked me if I've read his own", I think we can understand "Ezra Pound sat upon my bed, asked me if I know that he was anti-semite."

Then, she sings: "and whether I could spare a pound of flesh to cover his bare bones"

Ezra pound, the anti-semite, is close to death and he wants to be forgiven. So he asks for a pound of flesh, the same request made by a Jew on the Shakespeare's book. The situation is reversed but the issue is not the same. He wants to be forgiven, he wants his enemies to love him.

And she replies: "I says man, take a pound, take two"

Here, I think she makes a reference to religion. I don't know many things about religion but when I heard that song for the first time, especially the serie of "Ifs" which show the consequences for not being sorry, I thought about Christianity. In my opinion, the central message of Christianity is forgiveness (Am I wrong?).

I did some search and those lyrics could be a reference to: "If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with two miles", which is an "example of non-violence resistance against oppression, a way for meeting oppression with creative non-violent resistance."

Ezra Pound wants to be forgiven but the person who is in bed don't want to forgive him.

Then, I found something which helped me a lot to understand that song: "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others theirs sins, your Father will not forgive your sins"

So, Ezra Pound, the anti-semite, wants to be forgiven. He sits upon one bed and asks for a pound of flesh, but the person doesn't want to be sorry for him. Then he tries with another person; he sits upon your bed. But you don't want to be sorry. So he tries, tries and tries again. But nobody wants to be sorry for him. However, if nobody is sorry for him, nobody can be forgiven for his sins. That is a vicious circle.

Well.. There are so many things to tell about that song. I think she is warning us about the dangers of hate and hypocrisy. That's something which is really hard to erase, and yet that's essential.

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Ah, I love your explanations! Smiler they’re so insightful and interesting. It really got me thinking a lot. Nice job on provoking thought, heheh. I didn’t have anything to add,and was just going to say "i like your thoughts on the song" but then I kept thinking and thinking...so my ideas could be totally wrong but I hope I at least make sense.

“If you live forever then you’ll begin to dream of death” I love this contradiction. Living forever isn’t so great when you’re unhappy and so you dream of death, wanting to die.

When Ezra Pound asks “if you’ve, uh, read his own?” with the uh, to me it sounds like he’s tentative, because he’s embarrassed by his own prejudice work. I agree, he’s asking if you know he was an anti-semite,and it’s also like he’s admitting it, since he is the one who brings it up. He wants you to know his faults and that he knows he was wrong. Well, that’s what I think from reading “The worst mistake I made was that stupid, suburban prejudice of anti-Semitism.”

“and whether I could spare a pound of flesh to cover his bare bones” makes me picture him as a skeleton, but he’s not really dead, he’s withering away because he’s been alive for so long, and it’s kind of like he’s asking for help, “a pound of flesh to cover his bare bones” so he can be reborn, and start again. Which he hasn’t been able to do because he’s not forgiven. He’s not forgotten(people today still read his works, know about him),so he is fated to live forever, with unresolved problems in life.

“I says man, take a pound, take two” It could mean different things. At first I thought the person in bed is being sincere, he/she appreciates that Ezra Pound seems to feel bad for his hate, and will gladly forgive him, give him a pound, even two! off their own back. The casual diction of this lyric seems to show how friendly and giving the person is. (A bit off topic but I thought of Anne Frank when she said in her diary,“It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” I was just thinking if more people would forgive more graciously the person apologizing would be surprised at the kindness and be more sorry and maybe a person, who is thought to be unforgivable, could actually be good at heart. Just like Ezra Pound should be thought unforgivable since he supported Hitler, and Mussolini.)

I thought it was saying be generous with forgiveness but also be careful, because it is a precious thing to give away, if you think about it, a pound of flesh of your own given to someone else is a precious thing, if you give it away too freely you can hurt yourself.

“What’s a pound of flesh between friends like me and you?” I don’t know, it could be sarcastic? To all of a sudden jump to the conclusion that they are friends and “what’s a pound of flesh?” like it’s no big deal, even though a pound of flesh obviously is. Maybe Ezra Pound isn’t forgiven so easily after all.

She repeats “If you’re never sorry” and Ezra Pound never actually says he’s sorry.

So he’s not forgiven and can’t be reborn, be a baby, learn to crawl and learn how to live life again, and must stay in bed.

But then because you don’t forgive him, you’re the one in bed dreaming of death (Ezra Pound..), who is sure to get some visitors(..sat upon your bed). Which could show that not forgiving and being hateful of your enemies for being hateful is a hypocrisy that is just as bad and will leave you in the same unfortunate position of not being able to forgive, forget, be reborn, staying in bed getting visitors, dreaming of death. And it’s a vicious cycle that can’t be broken...

Or maybe it’s not sarcastic, and the person in bed does actually forgive and spare a pound of flesh, but you forgive too carelessly. At the end “What’s a pound of flesh among friends?” is repeated, and if you keep forgiving those who hurt you, so easily, they take and take another pound of flesh, first one, then two, then three etc, and it will add up, so you’ll end up being left to the bare bone.

hmmm, sorry for the essay...i guess i got carried away... :/

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Thanks porcupine-ologist!

Your interpretations are so interesting and helpful!!

Like said tallchick: "this may be one of those songs with a multitude of meanings."

However, I have to find the one who convinces me. I don't know.. there is always one thing which doesn't make sense when I think about the meanings of that song. I just have to find the key! Smiler

My main problem is Ezra Pound.

You said:

quote:
She repeats “If you’re never sorry” and Ezra Pound never actually says he’s sorry.

So he’s not forgiven and can’t be reborn, be a baby, learn to crawl and learn how to live life again, and must stay in bed.

But then because you don’t forgive him, you’re the one in bed dreaming of death (Ezra Pound..), who is sure to get some visitors(..sat upon your bed). Which could show that not forgiving and being hateful of your enemies for being hateful is a hypocrisy that is just as bad and will leave you in the same unfortunate position of not being able to forgive, forget, be reborn, staying in bed getting visitors, dreaming of death. And it’s a vicious cycle that can’t be broken...

That's very interesting, I love the concept.

However, if Ezra Pound is not sorry, he can't learn how to crawl, must stay in bed all day and can't sit upon your bed. You will not have some visitors and the cycle is broken.

Also, if he stays in bed all day, he will have some visitors. They will ask if he can spare a pound of flesh. But Ezra Pound needs flesh to cover his bare bones!

In my opinion, Ezra pound is outside the circle. Every time I tried to put Ezra Pound inside this circle, this serie of "Ifs", that didn't make sense.

So, who is Ezra Pound? What is his goal?

Maybe he is not real. He may represent something: the concept of culpability.

Imagine you are someone who have commited a fault. You don't feel guilty, you're not sorry. If you're not sorry, you can't be forgiven, can't be forgotten, you must live forever, you can't be reborn, can't be a baby, can't learn how to crawl, you must stay in bed all day. You do nothing. So you start to think about what you have done.

Ezra pound comes next to you and sits upon your bed. He was an anti-semite. All his life, he has supported the fascism. But it was a mistake, he knows it was a mistake and he feels terribly guilty. He represents the culpability.

So he sits upon your bed and asks if you can spare a pound of flesh. You have to pay for your faults, he wants you to feel guilty. But you don't care, you are sarcastic. You give one pound, you give two pounds. You think that if you give two pounds, this feeling will disapear, Ezra Pound will leave you alone.

But you're wrong, Ezra Pound (your culpability) is stronger and he comes again because you're not sorry, the circle is not broken.

But you don't care, you give one pound, you give two pounds and "you’ll end up being left to the bare bone."

Finally, haunted by remorse, you begin to dream of death..

Well. Feel free to challenge me! What is your take on it?

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quote:
In my opinion, Ezra pound is outside the circle. Every time I tried to put Ezra Pound inside this circle, this series of "Ifs", that didn't make sense.

^^yeah, I think I was trying to make some sort of connection with the "staying in bed all day" and how Ezra Pound is a visitor to your bed but it didn't exactly fit.

quote:
He may represent something: the concept of culpability.

Imagine you are someone who have commited a fault. You don't feel guilty, you're not sorry. If you're not sorry, you can't be forgiven, can't be forgotten, you must live forever, you can't be reborn, can't be a baby, can't learn how to crawl, you must stay in bed all day. You do nothing. So you start to think about what you have done.

Ezra pound comes next to you and sits upon your bed. He was an anti-semite. All his life, he has supported the fascism. But it was a mistake, he knows it was a mistake and he feels terribly guilty. He represents the culpability.

I think before I was focusing too much on the idea of forgiving but now I really like the idea of Ezra Pound representing culpability.

quote:
So he sits upon your bed and asks if you can spare a pound of flesh. You have to pay for your faults, he wants you to feel guilty. But you don't care, you are sarcastic. You give one pound, you give two pounds. You think that if you give two pounds, this feeling will disapear, Ezra Pound will leave you alone.

But you're wrong, Ezra Pound (your culpability) is stronger and he comes again because you're not sorry, the circle is not broken.

But you don't care, you give one pound, you give two pounds and "you’ll end up being left to the bare bone."

Finally, haunted by remorse, you begin to dream of death..

^^Oh, this makes so much sense to me! I like this interpretation a lot. Big Grin I don't really have anything to challenge or interesting to add. Maybe someone else does? Smiler

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