Poetry: Pound – In a Station of the Metro

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:

Petals on a wet, black bough.


One of my favorite poems, “In a Station of the Metro” is a piece of Imagist poetry depicting the briefest moment of time in crisp language and quick emotion. While I seldom like modernist poetry, this one has always fascinated me. Unlike much of the poetry written in this period, this poem, while simple, is beautiful. It is a moment. Featuring no verb, no action, there is such expression. You are looking, with Pound, at these vanishing faces flitting about, contrasted against the darkness of their clothing and the ground. Like petals on a rain-soaked branch, they highlight little bits of life amid a dreary world. We are with them in this rhythm of stop and go, travel and home, bright life and dark stillness. But amid it all are these faces that stand out to our view. I am not sure of all that Pound intended with this poem. What were all the emotions he felt? What was the precise moment? Who were they, and who was he? But in every moment of my reading this brief, beautiful piece, written in the heart of change and fear and “progress,” I watch as we all stop to look at those fleeting faces around us, standing out in contrast to the darkening days of life.

Blessings to you and yours,

~Madelyn Rose Craig

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