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Ezra Pound "in a Station of the Metro"

Essay by   •  October 27, 2017  •  Essay  •  295 Words (2 Pages)  •  362 Views

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“In a station of the metro” – Ezra Pound

        Conventional poetry frowns on short poems. And admittedly, it is challenging to describe emotions in a few lines of a poem, for the same reasons, perhaps, that novels take tens of thousands of words to narrate a story. However, the two-line poem "In a station of the metro" by Ezra Pound seriously challenges this notion. In just two lines of colorful verse, Pound creates a mental image that is likely to remain with you a long time and one that is granted to cause you to reflect long and hard.

"The apparition of these faces in the crowd/ Petals on a wet, black bough” reads the poem in its entirety.

At first, the poem impressed me with its simple promise of beautiful and cheerful things to come. A black borough immediately brings to mind images of train stations, with the petals representing the many faces lining the platforms. On a leafless tree branch, petals symbolize the expectation of bloom and foliage, especially at that time of the year when, after a cold, punishing summer, the blossoms of spring bring with them sunshine and warmth.

 That is the skin-deep interpretation of the poem that considers the petals and wet borough. A distinct, more convoluted meaning emerges after bearing in mind the meaning of the word apparition. The faces on the metro station are no longer beautiful. Instead, they morph into ghostly shapes that haunt and frighten. Rather than showing the connectivity of a metro station in the community, wet petals, separated from the flower, symbolize disconnection even while they remain in a shared environment, which is increasingly the world in which we live.  

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