In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
— Ezra Pound
One of those high-school era poems that has stuck with me as a writer, repeated over and over in my mind as a sort of mantra. Much is made of its fourteen words but it is imprecise to omit the title, which describes a conceivable and related thing at the genesis of the aesthetic experience. If Pound had titled the poem ‘My Poem For Francine’ for instance, unconstrained by the notion of a station of the metro each of us would locate this poem some place closer to our own minds or experiences.
This twenty word poem is highly-refined poetry (in the sense of ‘contentrated evil‘ from ‘Time Bandits‘). The word choices –the very way of imagining– belie Pound’s immersion in Japanese culture, art, and poetry.