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Visitors' Comments about:

In A Station Of The Metro

Ezra Pound

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Dying? Underground? Rebirth?
Added by: Another Cadaver
It seems that some of you are truly great literary minds, making thousands of words of analysis out of two lines of poetry. Although the stuff about emerging from underground /the womb/the phoenix sounds plausible it seems to go a little far. And allusion to Eliot? His own prtoge? Who wrote some 10 years later? Doubtful. But the part about the struggle against modernity fits nicely with the poem and Pound's most common theme.

My opinion:

Really, although I hesitate to call Pound an imagist, he did write some imagist poems before reforming, and this is one of them. But unlike the drivel of, say, WCW, the briefness and imagism in this poem is integral to its meaning.

He wrote a 30 line poem about the scene, and realized that such a poem was ridiculous. The reason the scene struck him was because of the faceless crowd, representative of what he saw was the subjugation of individuality at the hands of modern progress. Does it make sense to write a 30 line poem about what he saw as essentially the emptiness of modernity? No. Does it not only make sense to write a 2 line poem about it? Yes. And overall, don't those two lines themselves represent the whole idea? The facelessness (apparitions), the inhumanity (petals), the indescriptness (black bough)?
Added by: Erik
While the word appartion does denote ghosts or spirits, I think it is better understood here as appearance. It is not the faces themselves which Pound compares to petals on a black bough, but the way they suddenly appear to him. It is their sudden appearance (and subsequent disappearance) which strikes him as beautiful, the emergence of individuals standing out from the crowd. This is not to say that the other meaning of apparition is not used here; Pound uses this particular word to lend the faces a quality of ephemerality and otherworldliness which could not be achieved with, say, appearance.
Added by: El Barto Smogg
A lot of the above remarks and analyses assume that 'the apparitions of the faces' are compared to 'petals on a wet, black bough', but is there really a comparison?
I only see two descriptions, (two images, if you will), but the relation between them is not put explicitly. Maybe Pound wants to show a similarity between them. Maybe he wants to show the difference between them (Culture-Nature, or whatever). Ultimately, there are just two images and the relation between them is decided by the reader.
Added by: sherif hilal
if someone else wrote this poem ,people would have laughed at him.imagist or no imagist i believe pound is a sorry excuse of a poet and this so called poem is a disgrace to poetry
modernist disenfranchisement
Added by: nickane
This comment page reads fairly amusingly, since everyone seems to be contesting Carlisle's analysis, which is obviously intended as a joke. It seems telling that everyone seems to begin their analysis by refuting his "claims" so as to give weight to their own over-arching meaning to the text, when they can't grasp simple sarcasm. Wasteland may have been written in 1923, but I think we can all assume that Apni_Princess's post came sometime after the birth of the internet.

The fact that all three lines (including the all-important title) of this poem are so disjointed, does indeed suggest that they are intended to be contrasting as well as similar. You could also argue that the lack of relations drawn between them mirrors the lack of relations between the strangers in the subway. They are there expressly to use the train, just like the petals aren't attached to each other, they're attached to the bough. The poem (like so much modernist literature) is essentially about how technology has dehumanised us and alienated us from one another. The use of an image from nature to reflect this makes the contrast explicit. 'Apparition' gives a sense of how fleeting the encounters held between the strangers are and the ghost-like figures that technology has turned them into.

All the claustrophobia of being underground is relevant too, as is much of what is said elsewhere on this board. I think this poem is not only excellent (if that's ok with u sherif) but also incredibly useful for exams/essays etc as it is so dense. I haven't even said a tenth of what can be said about these 3 lines.
Added by: Gordon Buchan
the petals are what seem to shine with life...as do people...in reality a petal is dead...it is the wet black bough which is alive. the people are dead...it is the metro which lives
Added by: ali mazrouai
anyway this poem is about death ; the apparition means that the faces in the ground are metaphorically dead.the metro symbolizises darkness, trraped ,underground

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