I read “In a Station of the Metro”;
later, I wrote a 14-word poem.
“In a Station of the Metro,” Ezra Pound wrote a poem that consisted of two lines and fourteen carefully selected words. In them, he presented two images. The first and obvious one is the people waiting for a train while standing on asphalt. However, from a distance, the people, in all of their different colors, could appear to be “petals on a wet, black bough.” The second image conjures up a rainy day when images may be blurred by so much water. It not much different than the one I experienced today (5/18/2018). The 18th of the month is usually a special day for me and husband. We were married on the 18th of December in 2010. We try to make each 18th of the month special in an ordinary way. Today, instead of rushing out the door, I sat with him, drank coffee, and shared an inspirational video I’d found. This video voice, Alan Watts, said something very inspiring and convicting simultaneously: “A completely predictable future is already the past; life needs surprises.” My life definitely needed one. The only surprise that I had so far was that a friend of mine was to be buried today. Although I knew the day and time funeral, I was surprised, shocked (and motivated to make some changes) by her passing this week. That surprise was out of my control.
I had today planned yesterday. I’m a teacher; that’s what teachers do. So, when I walked in the door of my classroom Friday morning, I already had the quiz I wrote and printed on my desk. I knew about the time most students would complete the quiz so I had another ” learning activity” on my desk. The textbook I use for the first class was already sitting on the podium and opened to the page I had planned to read with students. However, while the students were taking the quiz, I decided to explore some other pages. I found T. S. Eliot and I read the “About the Author” section to myself. Then, I moved on and read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” In certain places, I grinned, chuckled, and mouthed the words so I wouldn’t disturb the students. I enjoyed that so I went searching for something more. Next stop was Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and H.D. (Hilda Doolittle)–three poet biographies on two page. I was so inspired after reading their backgrounds, I read their poems. When I came to “In a Station of the Metro,” I was so moved by the idea that a piece can be short and powerful. No more excuses! Besides, my life needed a surprise. I wrote my own poem in the style employed by Pound.
Yes, I surprised myself. I’m often inspired by the work of other writers, but I rarely do I do anything about it. Today I did! I analyzed my poem over and over. In it, I saw two important images of my life: teacher and student. As student, I studied Pound’s technique and tried to apply what I learned. As teacher, I’m prepared teach a lesson on how Pound conveyed so much meaning with such brevity. I didn’t plan on doing either one.