Pound @ Schloss Brunnenburg

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Ol’ Gargantua hi’self

In Merano today. After brekky we hiked to a place near the bahnhof that lets people use bikes for free. What a great idea. All day we rode around the picturesque town and the Alpine precipices and protruding pinnacles.First, we peddled up the west side of the river Passer, breathing in and breathing out all that healthful northern Italian ambience.

Single-gear bikes are hard to ride uphill, we found. So soon we were forced to dismount aside a botanical garden. We asked directions to Schloss Brunnenburg from a young balding fellow with two damp dogs. They all looked well-suited for walking in those crags, on some epic journey to Mordor or thereabouts, we reckoned. We parked our bikes in front of an old gunpowder tower and walked on and on and up and up under some trams and through trees.

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A woman and her bicycle, Tirolo

We got a bit lost up in the mountain near Dorf Tirol, and were forced to take drastic measures. We left the path and cut across some farms while taking some nice pics of ourselves through the grapes, near the grapes, and under the grapes. During our trek through the off-path terrain we had to hop a gully or two through which water raged. Kim got scratched up by some itchy ivy and the sun was bearing down on us hard. But it was all worth the struggle when we got to the top of the hill to a wide mountainous prospect, in the shadow of the Schloss Brunnenburg itself.

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Schloss Brunnenburg

The amiable old proprietor let us in and we saw a female undergrad American who was there on an agricultural internship. Except for her, the castle was deserted. The hard-edged iron tools and will for fructifying around survival instincts evinced such skill, such know-how. And the organic curves of the architecture was wholly reminiscent of the only other 14th century building of which I am familiar, namely the post office at Tintagel. The air was cool and filtered through pines, which made the place feel not just 14th century old, but Palaeolithic, or perhaps Neolithic. The in the sturdiness of structures one couldn’t help but mark self-confidence, a convincing quality.

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Dionysian lunch

And then we came upon the lair of EP himself. No usury was here, only application, tenacious productivity, dignity and hard work—labours of love. We were free to walk about his rooms un-chaperoned, as if they were our own, strewn with personal effects, coats, photos, notes. I grabbed his cane and noted how, if I was so inclined, it would be easy to engage in high modernist thievery. But I resisted what small temptation was there, so if something has gone missing, it wasn’t LS.

Kim was adorable, visibly excited to be in this particular place on this, the same day she becomes Dr. Scriv, Pound scholar par excellence. While I sat at his table it is hard to describe the tangle of emotions: Here was a collection of a man’s books, interests, a life’s accumulation of experience amassed in tangible trinkets. Among his tomes I saw many that I have read or indeed currently own. Some surprises, like Alistair Crowley, which should really come as no surprise. We beasts and enemies have to stick thick as thieves. Books, vest, tennis racket, sword on wall—there was something boyish about it all, not as in a perpetual boyhood or immaturity, but as in a never-dying curiosity and excitement about life and an intense intent to explore it, explode it—nay, Blast it.

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Casa Povnd

Such feelings I have long felt smouldering in me, and so stepping into that place was like visiting a kind of temple, not one devoted to Pound-worship, but to gleefully serious intellectual, visceral, and sensual exploration. Back down the hill nursing sore feet. Bikes parked by high tower. Coasted down the rest of the mountain to the thermal pools, and there we put ourselves in the care of warm jets of water under the Tyrolean air. Tschüss.

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