Summarize the poem "In a Station of the Metro" by Ezra Pound.

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Michael Otis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ezra Pound's 1911 imagistic masterpiece "In a station of the Metro" aligns two images - 

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

in a deeply evocative metaphor. By bringing together these austere images in a long, rhythmic line without benefit of a conjunction (parataxis) it would seem the poet intends the reader to understand that the faces seen in a subway station are like wet, fallen flower petals on a bough. However, the poet also wants to deepen the reader's perception. This Pound accomplishes by the word that appears at the head of the poem: 'apparition'. In this single word Pound - displaying his Modernist credentials - allies himself with the tradition in western poetry of comparing souls to fallen leaves. These people may have been observed in a subway station, but the reader is meant to perceive them as figurative spirits of the dead - a standard Modernist allusion.