In a Station of the Metro, Ezra Pound, Summary & Analysis

In a Station of the Metro – The Poem

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;

Petals on a wet, black bough.

Easy Meaning of the Poem

In a metro station, the ghost like appearance, that is to say, dynamic and changing image (apparition) of the people's faces in the crowd looks like flower petals on main branch of the tree (bough) which is wet, suggesting, probably after rainfall.

Short Analysis
  • It is only a couplet.
  • The poem consists of 14 words only.
  • Verbless Poetry: The couplet is verbless. That is, there is no action word used.
  • Subject without any action to perform creates a sense of static picture.
  • The moment in time is captured in static image without action/verb.
  • Feels like two captured images placed together somehow coordinating and speaking to each other.
  • This is one of the features of the imagist poetry.
    Detailed Analysis

    • The meaning is created by linking of these two lines/images/pictures/moments.
    • The poem metaphorically compares human faces with flower petals.
    • Each word conveys specific image. For example: the word "apparition" creates image of fast moving crowd in metro station which appears ghost-like because the faces are changing constantly.
    • "petals on a wet, black bough" creates an image of weak, small, fleeting elements of beauty within nature, following rainfall.
    • Beauty of human world is seen through lenses of natural world by comparing the both.
    • The poem allows multiple interpretations.

    Quick Facts

    • Arrested for treason by U.S. government during World War II
    • Because Ezra Pound supported Mussolini’s fascism and Hitler's government.
    • During prison-time he suffered mental breakdown.
    • He spent 12 years in psychiatrist hospital.

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