In A Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough.
The above poem is by Ezra Pound. And no, I did not choose this work because of a Metro reference. In life, we are searching for insight, beauty, wisdom and the truth. Ironically, the narrator found something beautiful in a snapshot.
Along with brevity, Pound is an innovator of form of poetry called Imagism. Imagist poets wrote using free verse style. The focus of this style is clarity of expression with visual images. The image in this poem conveys complexity in an instant. Some of the most famous Imagists include William Carlos Williams, James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence.
Some writers argue about the meaning of this specific poem. Pound found inspiration in a moment at the La Concorde in Paris, France. The faces in the crowd are a metaphor regarding people and life.
After more consideration, the images he used are extremely poignant. Life is fleeting, short-lived and temporary. The faces are not identifiable or familiar. The individuals are strangers. Passengers get on board the train and continue on their journey. This all seems so transitory and is impersonal.
Or is this truly the case? Pound gives us so much to consider. He embraced Imagism to escape the verbiage common in Victorian period. There is a lot to can learn from Ezra Pound. The irony is that this poem tells a story without using any verbs.