One of the poets who is slowly rising on my list of poets I turn to for answers is Ezra Pound. Although he is an extremely influential writer and critic, he is widely unknown by people who can recognize the names of Whitman, Eliot and Frost.
Recently I’ve been drawn to the idea that money makes you miss out on life. Money is a cushion that, if given to you at the beginning of your life, can cause you to work with less passion (at least most of the time) and allow you to avoid ever truly hitting rock bottom.
Of course, this is where Ezra Pound steps in with his poem “The Garret” in which he says:
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.
In one of my final days at home over break, my mother and I were out for a run and she, as always, was helping me to psychoanalyze my problems. One of the things that I remember telling her while we were on the subject of men–or boys as I like to call them–in my life is that I hope to someday marry a writer.
To which she said, “Who will support the two of you?”
Of course, without missing a beat I said, “Oh, I have no desire to be rich. I’d much rather live among the proletariat.”
It’s interesting to me that from my third floor, two-bedroom, two-bath nearly perfect life I am still so desperately reaching out to embrace the life I believe to be the only real way to live; the one full of struggle. I chose one of the richest schools in the area to attend, as if to offer myself the opportunity to rebel against the norm. To be one of the few girls who doesn’t join a sorority, to be one of the few girls who didn’t buy her friends.
But dear Mr. Pound does not end with pitying the rich; he also pities the married and the unmarried. As if to say that if you climb up on a high enough ladder you can look down on everyone.
Well, I suppose since I live a life so rich with blessings and since I am far from willing to hawk my Louis Vuitton bag, I should learn to see everyone as someone fully alive in their own way.
It may seem like it takes strength to be better than everyone, but I think only a truly strong person can recognize that they are no better than anyone else. Living your life among people may be more difficult, but there is not a reward for people who wind up alone.
And that, my friends, is my long-winded New Year’s resolution:
I resolve to recognize that I am just another human being striving for a good life, with money or without.
Lauren Smart is a junior creative writing major. She can be reached for comment at