In a Station of the Metro

by Ezra Pound
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What is the comparison Pound makes in “In a Station of the Metro”? What is he trying to accomplish with this comparison?

In “In a Station of the Metro,” Pound compares the faces of the people in the metro station to ghosts and to flower petals on a dark bough. This comparison suggests that beauty can be found in dark places. It also demonstrates the power of precise, specific images in poetry.

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In his short poem “In a Station of the Metro,” poet Ezra Pound is comparing the beautiful faces he sees on a night in the Paris Metro with flower petals on a wet branch. The entire poem reads,

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:

Petals on...

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In his short poem “In a Station of the Metro,” poet Ezra Pound is comparing the beautiful faces he sees on a night in the Paris Metro with flower petals on a wet branch. The entire poem reads,

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:

Petals on a wet, black bough.

In the first line of the poem, Pound makes an interesting observation of the people around him by comparing them to ghosts. The word apparition gives the idea that the people's faces are obscured and makes the people seem less than human. Then, in the next line, he compares their appearance to flower petals, which are colorful, fragile pieces of nature. By describing the bough these petals are on as wet” and “black," Pound emphasizes the contrast between the appearance of the people and their location and says that their faces appear beautiful and vibrant in their dreary environment. This comparison suggests that beauty can be found even in dark places, like a dark metro station.

This poem is also a testament to Pound’s theory of imagism, which critiqued excessive rhetoric and vague language in poetry and advocated for the use of precise images. By making a straightforward comparison like the one in this poem, Pound shows how meaning can be created with just a few carefully chosen words that construct a specific image.

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