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This poem does not embody traditional form or even traditional grammar. The impression, the image, is what Pound expresses, on the supposition that poetry exists in the transference of mood from the poet to the reader through the creation and apprehension of strong and direct images. The image of the petals is complex: Are they part of a full blossom? Have they dropped off the flower? Are they sticking temporarily to the wet bough? Do they suggest that, even in rain and clouds, some remnants of beauty are still visible in human experience? If they were petals on a sunny tree they would be positive and less ambivalent. Another aspect of ambivalence is the word “apparition,” which is usually a ghostly figure, but which may be simply an unexpected sight. Short as the poem is, it is still a poem because it works entirely in images, not logical development. It is, in effect, in the tradition of the Japanese haiku.
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