| Quote #1
Seal sports in the spray-whited circles of cliff-wash, (6)
To start "Canto II," Pound wants to give us a sense of being near or on the open sea. So he gives us this early line describing seals playing in the ocean surf. It's a very vivid image, and it sets up all of the action that unfolds for the rest of the poem, since this action is all connected to the sea in one way or another.
| Quote #2
Quiet sun-tawny sand-stretch,
Even while the nymph Tyro is being sexually assaulted nearby, the sea birds just keep performing their usual routines. They nip at their feathers, fly around, and look for fish. Nothing changes for them, even though there's brutal human suffering going on nearby.
| Quote #3
Naviform rock overgrown,
We might not notice it right away, but the "wine-red glow" in the shallow water here is our first hint that the Greek god Dionysius might be nearby. After all, he's the god of wine and fertility. The problem is that none of the greedy men who've landed on this island seem to take the hint. This is one of those situations where it might come in handy to know your classic mythology.