Wednesday, April 8, 2009


"In a Station of the Metro" by Ezra Pound.

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

The above poem is a mere two lines long, yet it is filled with perhaps more imagery than a poem sixty lines long. After writing this poem Ezra Pound said, "I wrote a thirty-line poem, and destroyed it because it was what we call work 'of second intensity.' Six months later I made a poem half that length; a year later I made the following hokku-like sentence..." In other words, Pound discovered that sometimes one sentence can be ever more meaningful that thirty lines of poetry.

The essence of imagism is just that; say only what you need to say and be sure it presents the reader with an image. In "In a Station of the Metro" Pound almost paints a picture with only 14 words and two lines of poetry. The image of "apparition" is one of swift disappearance of one into another. Joined with the words "faces in the crowd" it seems that each person disappears into another and they appear to be one blur. I can picture a bustling Metro Station in which hundreds of people pass by, yet not one has any individual appearance. Each person's appearance blends into another creating everyone as equal.

The second line "Petals on a wet, black bough" presents a darkness to the poem. In cohesion with the idea of the faces blending into one another, they almost become a coating as water is on a bough after a rainstorm. The color black carries with it a negative connotation suggesting that there is some kind of darkness in this Metro Station.

In a way, Pound uses euphony in this poem in that he studies the beauty of the scene and the words. While he isn't directly talking about beauty itself, through the usage of Imagist poetry Pound is automatically appreciating the beauty of the English Language and the power it holds in presenting images to a reader.

In the end, there is quite an amount of analysis that can be done one two simple lines of poetry. That is the purpose of Imagism--achieve a purpose through a joining of words and images.

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