In A Station Of The Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
petals on a wet, black bough.
About the poet:
Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (October 30, 1885 – November 1, 1972) was an American expatriate poet and critic who was a major figure of the Modernist movement in the first half of the 20th century. His significant contribution to poetry began with his promotion of Imagism, a poetry movement which derived its technique from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry to stress clarity, precision and economy of language. Pound wanted in his poetry "objective presentation of material which he believed could stand on its own" without using symbolism or romanticism. He used Chinese ideograms to represent "the thing in pictures", and from Noh theater, he learned unity and image eclipsed plot.
apparition: n. (pl)-s 1.特异景象 2.幽灵;鬼 3.(特异景象等的)出现 4.(行星、彗星等隐没后的)初现
This poem is an Imagist poem. The two-line poem "In a Station of the Metro" represents that in its purest form imagism became minimalism.
The poem attempts to describe Pound's experience upon visiting an underground metro station in Paris in 1912, and Pound suggested that the faces of the individuals in the metro were best put into a poem not with a description but with an "equation". Because of the treatment of the subject's appearance by way of the poem's own visuality, it is considered a quintessential Imagist text.
Written in a Japanese haiku style, Pound’s process of deletion from thirty lines to only fourteen words typifies Imagism’s focus on economy of language, precision of imagery and experimenting with non-traditional verse forms. The poem is Pound’s written equivalent for the moment of revelation and intense emotion he felt at the Metro at La Concorde, Paris.
The poem contains only fourteen words, further exemplifying Imagism's precise economy of language. "In a Station of the Metro" is an early work of Modernist poetry as it attempts to "break from the pentameter", incorporates the use of visual spacing as a poetic device, and contains not a single verb.
Arguably the heart of the poem is not the first line, nor the second, but the mental process that links the two together.