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Analysis and comments on In A Station Of The Metro by Ezra Pound

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Comment 34 of 154, added on December 12th, 2005 at 8:11 AM.

I am not going to launch into an analysis of the poem, or why and how I
like it. I just think it's a little sad that some people feel like saying
things like "two weak ass lines can't really be a good poem", then have the
arrogance to accuse likers of the poem of being 'losers'. I thought the
idea of this exchange of comments was to agree and disagree -yes, give
different opinions, perspectives and ideas, but not actually insult people
who have different opinions. To insult people who do not have the same
opinion of a poem as you do is to have a fairly immature idea of poetry.

oliver from China
Comment 33 of 154, added on November 8th, 2005 at 7:33 PM.

This kind of poem may well be based on haiku, but readers need to know that
there is a valuable form called a "matchbox poem" or "Ezra" (yes,
specifically named for what Ezra Pound developed and most often quoted as
this example). The key to the form is two lines; the first is from
experience of the world, the second is a reaction from the imagination.
Realistically, the interpretation is that Pound has walked down into the
station of the subway (called the Metro in Paris) and been struck by the
contrast of the pink faces against the backdrop of the dominantly dark
plain clothes that the commuters would have been wearing (I am not certain,
but I think that it dates to 1926.Although there are many African-French
people there now, there would then have been few non-white faces around
then.) The word "apparition" is perfect, conveying the sense of a sudden,
almost ghostly appearance. The second line is how poets "work". To be a
poet means to see the same things as others do, but see them differently,
or to have a desire to capture the difference in words. Perhaps it was
Spring. It doesn't matter, but what Pound sees is an image that reminds him
of petals against - well, he even thinks of the boughs being wet because
that will make them look darker. It is quite easy to get even young
children to write similar styles of poem. Just focus in one line on
observing with one particular sense, and then respond in a second line to
how it might be interpreted in the imagination. Of course, the whole thing
can be scaled up into larger pieces, but they might not fit in a matchbox.

Geoff from Australia
Comment 32 of 154, added on October 31st, 2005 at 7:20 AM.

As far as I know, this poem is the reduction of a very much longer one;
that's perhaps the reason why it is that short and why the term haiku
doesn't seem to fit really...Pound seemed to have put a rather "complex"
feeling or impression into the shortness of its moment-length.

judith from Germany
Comment 31 of 154, added on October 11th, 2005 at 7:07 PM.

The poem is in fact three lines long in this context. The title is the
first line--at least that's what I've been told since haiku do not have
individual titles. This is not a traditional haiku either since it does
not fit into the 5-7-5 syllable scheme. I think it gives this haiku much
more freedom. This seems to me to be very characteristic of Pound. As for
the meaning, I wouldn't suggest trying too hard to interperet it. The
meaning has great depth, but is not meant to be too elusive to the reader.
I feel that the "petals" refer to the shortness of life which can be
connected to "apparition"--an illusion, or vision that can be fleeting--and
to the length of the poem. "Petals" is plural, which shows that there is
no particular individual being described in this poem. "Apparition" is
singular, which unites the "faces" into one single body. It gives the
feeling of conformity to these faces. In a way, the figures described at
the Metro are conformed and lack individuality--walking ghosts. The petals
described in the last line are revealed to be individualists. It is
interesting. There seems to be restriction in urban society and freedom in
nature. The haiku is not a joining of two similar subjects, but it is a
comparison of two unlike subjects in this case. At least, this is what I
can gather from the haiku.

TjB from United States
Comment 30 of 154, added on October 6th, 2005 at 8:33 AM.

this is a gorgeous poem. yes it is a poem. length is not a qualifying
characteristic of poetry. i've seen one line poems. and it was quite
effective. (my poetry professor saw one that was only a title.) poetry is
creating art, just with words. paper and words are a poet's media.
for those of you who hate it and think it has no meaning, look past the
black ink on the pages. there is a meaning woven between and into the
words. its there. i can feel it.

marie
Comment 29 of 154, added on September 29th, 2005 at 9:15 AM.

I agree with the haters, this poem was weak ... two weak ass lines cant
really be a good poem. what was he thinking, was he high? The poem didnt
even ryhme or make sense... for those of you who think this poem is really
good, u must be some kind of loser...

Jeremiah Josiah from Bulgaria
Comment 28 of 154, added on September 28th, 2005 at 12:53 PM.

After reading all the comments that ppl left for this poem i still dont
even get it. How the hell can u get so much from 2 little lines??? In a
couple minutes me and my partner Andrew have to explain this crappy poem to
the class and we dont have a clue as what to say!!!

Karen from United States
Comment 27 of 154, added on September 15th, 2005 at 4:41 PM.

If you think the poem "sucks" and there's no meaning, read it again, and
read between the lines. Pound is simply telling his audience to stop and
smell the roses. That's why it's so short; it doesn't need to be any
longer. Originally the poem was 40 lines and he cut it down to two, because
those two lines were the "essence" of the poem. Then again, you could
probably pick this poem apart so much that you find about 1, 000, 000
different meanings.

Geoff from Canada
Comment 26 of 154, added on August 24th, 2005 at 8:18 PM.

It seems to me that no one has yet tumbled to the true meaning of this
poem. Pound specifically says the "apparition" of faces....in short, the
faces in total combine to make an apparition. This apparition is, of
course, the future spector of Death....i.e., the "petals" on the "black
bough," with the black bough being Death itself. Way to go, Pound!

Brother Geo from United States
Comment 25 of 154, added on August 18th, 2005 at 4:41 PM.

Pound cleverly states where the poem is taking place. The meaning I take
from the poem is a deep one. “The apparition of these faces in the crowd;”
perhaps he is simply stating as we walk the earth or in this case a bus
station we don’t pay attention. Most people keep to themselves in a bus
station not wanting to call attention or looking into anyone’s eyes. So
people become ghost, an apparition because we are seeing faces, but not
really acknowledging anyone. Perhaps, “petals on a wet, black bough,” are
the feet of people walking, on the dark pavement and the wetness is from
the steam of the train.

To me the entirety of the poem means we don’t pay attention to “strangers”
instead of giving a courteous nod or wave, we look without seeing and we
all become apparitions in a crowd.


Jennifer from United States

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Information about In A Station Of The Metro

Poet: Ezra Pound
Poem: In A Station Of The Metro
Year: 1916
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 1240 times
Poem of the Day: Jun 15 2004


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