In A Station Of The Metro

This piece was written for Read Write Poem‘s Prompt #6: ‘Get Your Collaboration On’. I was supposed to be collaborating with ‘why paisley?’ ( She provided a picture for us both to work from. The plan was to later combine the two smaller works into a larger one. I wrote this epic without quite realising that it would make collaboration very difficult, especially in consideration of my partner’s style. Here is my contribution. The collaborated work will appear later. For those who care, it was inspired by Ezra Pound’s poem of the same name, alongside Something For Kate’s album ‘Echolalia’ and The Mars Volta’s album ‘Amputechture’. The picture we used to kick-start our work was pstoev’s ‘On The Road’, from deviantart. The link is

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

– Ezra Pound

Pstoev’s ‘On The Road’ (deviantART)

The stifling heat of the city filled its quiescent nights,
But once, she came near
And swelled inside me
Song – and seemed to calm the air
For envy of my soul.

She spoke lines, and ministry,
And every arpeggio another stroke,
I set to work a celebration
for all who spake mine tongue.

The city walls seemed much less tall,
And caste-lines seemed to all but fall,
In dreams. And as we talked I found
A truth in breath, and lips, and sound
But as the traffic pressed around
I knew it could not be.
Left, she now.

Still to my geometric mind
Her truths are subdivided lines
And reds and greens and blues

Apollo did now rear his head
And granted leave my dreams. Relieved,
I took the time to breathe again
And drunk I deep the atmosphere
And heard once more that song which lay
In visions grand but far away
And could not stand the pain!

I’ll paint a glossolalia
And in its pretty voids you’ll stand
Unheard and undisturbed.

My breath and mind in stasis lay
Til nightfall came around.
And as I craved her presence she
Was nowhere to be found.
And in this world of walls and lines
Where loves and truths kiss dead goodbyes
I knew no voice would leave me be.

I’ll watch and wait for night’s reprieve
And in the silence,
Remember you on trains.

So now, I sit, and heed the trains,
And lose my Juliet in the chaos.”


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7 Responses to “In A Station Of The Metro”

  1. whypaisley Says:

    this is an especially lovely poem.. the combination of the works takes on a life of its own… i have sent you a few drafted ideas of the collaboration,, and i am awaiting your reply…..

  2. Kirra Says:

    This made me hold my breath.

  3. johemmant Says:

    You have used language here in a very evocative, effective way, well done.

  4. telmcg Says:

    In a Station of the Metro– one of my favorite poems by Pound, but yours is, dare I say it, even better. I can’t explain, but there’s something reminiscent of Tennyson’s “Lady of Shalot.” Perhaps it’s the richness of the imagery, classical references, descriptive writing and rhythm or the inherent sadness. I can’ tell.

  5. Another Station in Another Metro « Mused Projectiles Says:

    […] This poem was inspired after re-reading Ezra Pound’s In a Station of the Metro, as well as a modern day poet’s poem by the same name.  After reflecting on these two poems, I found my mind wandering and wondering […]

  6. telmcg Says:

    Well, thank you. You were a muse, I suppose, and you got me thinking about three of my favorite poems (the Lady of Shalot and the two by Pound). It was thrown together rather quickly as my mind sort of rambled, so I’m delighted it was able to resonate. I really appreciate your comment; I once read that Pound translated The River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter from Chinese because he felt their poetry did a great job capturing emotion in the everyday mundane in a way that moved readers from all backgrounds. I followed some of the tenants in constructing this. Thanks again.

  7. Vasudha Says:

    Breathtakingly beautiful! 🙂

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