Ezra Pound

(30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972 / Hailey / Idaho)

In a Station of the Metro


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

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Wu Jianying (6/13/2013 2:30:00 AM)

    I think there are plenty of ways to interprete it.In Pound's diary, he noted, there must be something that can best describe certain revealed truth and in Japan there was Hokku, in China, there was image poems. therefore, he concise his poem from 300 lines into 2 lines. personally, i think the petals on wet black boughs are beautiful, just like he was amazed by the beauty of the children and women in mwtro station. (Report) Reply

  • Helen Kelltey (5/28/2010 3:45:00 PM)

    Imagist - at its finest. So short yet so power. What makes this poem one of the best (in my opinion) is the versatility Mr. Pound displays. Such strength in imagery; yet so technically sound. Take for example the assonance baked in; The 'a' sound in 'apparition' and 'black', the 'ow' sound in 'crowd' and 'bough' and the 'e' in 'petals' and 'wet'...on top of the being a stunning display of imagery, it is a technical masterpiece. (Report) Reply

  • Zach Sharp (8/15/2009 7:25:00 PM)

    there is only 1 sentence. and there is nothing to decipher. that is the point of the imagist. its a lyrical photograph, or a visual instant which occurred to the author. dont interpret it. just experience it. (Report) Reply

  • Sakura Tomoko (2/2/2009 8:51:00 PM)

    This poem is praps' one of the largest influences of the imagist movement, and its two lines.He wrote this one night after seeing a progression of beautiful faces one day in the Parisian Metropolis, I see this poem as a perhaps a black rose, It's beautiful yet dark, as if corrupted, but not wholly engulfed, or perhaps these beautiful faces together are something darker together then they are apart.. he leaves much to be deciphered which is why this poem is so great (Report) Reply

  • Lu Wenchao (11/10/2008 10:06:00 PM)

    This is perhaps the most famous poem written by Ezra Pound.I think the secert of the poem lies in the connection between the two sentence.The first sentence describes a sence of the morden life, that happens in a station of the metro, it is very common as a single sentence.The second sentence depicts a view of a nature, that happens after a rain.It is also not big suprise to us as a single setence.But when the two sentences combine together to make a poem, it generates the very abundent meaning.Especially we can compare the previous sence to the later sence, and we find that they are the same.That means the face is like the petals, which is live and beautiful.But the flower does not bloom in the sunshine but appear on a wet, black bough, which signify the atomsphere of destruction and death.This implies that we human beings may be so.We will die one day.So in this sense, we can see that in one part is the beauty of life, in the other side is the death of life, which combine to make a tragedy.This is only one aspect of the poem.In another sense, we can see that we human being creat the most advanced kind of life including the metro, we are different from the nature, but at the final point, we are the same, living in the shadow and light, and one day will disappear.This adds more climate of desperation to the poem. (Report) Reply

  • Chad Horvath (3/7/2006 9:36:00 AM)

    It has the 'chug-a-chug-a' rhythm of a subway car - the first line moving along at full speed, then the second line slowing down to a stop... (Report) Reply

  • Lee Ann Schaffer (8/29/2005 7:50:00 AM)

    Yes, it is a shame when people don't realize how limited their knowledge and awareness is and consequently make remarks that reveal their ignorance (not to mention simply being negative without support of any kind.) It is also a shame that many people - including some poets - are not aware of the power of short poems - when well executed. In this one in particular so many things are communicated through the connotations of single words. For example, the word apparition here doesn't simply contain the surface meaning of something that appears in front of you, but it also invokes the image ghosts. Ghostly images also conjure a secondary image of white. Although the word white is never mentioned, the use of that word along with the concept of contrast in the petals that would stand out against a dark bough starts to bring the image into focus for the reader. Add this to the word petal. The general shape of most petals can be likened to that of an upside down dropp of water or teardrop. If one imagines seeing a Metro station (Paris) crowded with people in cold wet weather, you can see the sea of dark coats with little upside down teardropp shaped splotches of white - the faces of the commuters. (Generally speaking, most winter coats tend to be dark since dark colors absorb light and therefore warmth.) All of this evocative imagery adds up to the metaphor that was not lost on Pat W. What could be viewed as dreary subject matter is given strong life in its comparison to nature. (Report) Reply

  • Pat W (4/12/2005 7:23:00 PM)

    Apparently, Ms. Shapiro does not understand the imagist perspective. By juxtaposing two concrete, exact images, Mr. Pound created a poem that strikes an immediate chord to the aware reader. The petals set against the black bough illustrate the feeling the poet had when he saw beautiful, vibrant faces against the cold, colorless backdropp of a station of the Metro. It creates a sharp divide between the cold outer world and the living beauty of individual human lives. I strongly disagree with the previous reviewer. This poem is alive~ (Report) Reply

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