In a Station of the Metro
by Ezra Pound
Our speaker likes to tell ghost stories. He's sitting around a campfire with a flashlight on his face, finishing his latest tale of horror: "And, worst of all, the faces of the ghosts weren't even faces at all . . . they were . . . FLOWERS!" AHHH! (Wild screaming of children as the fire is trampled out.)
Perhaps not. Actually, our speaker is more like a person who seems maddeningly peaceful and meditative while riding the public bus or subway. He's got his eyes closed, and takes deep, cleansing breaths. His head sways gently back and forth. Meanwhile, you keep looking at your watch and wanting to pull your hair out screaming, "What the heck is taking so long! Move it or lose it, buster!" What's the secret to his relaxation?
His secret is that he reads a lot of Asian spiritual poetry, which has given him an intense love for the rhythms of nature. Where you see a bunch of faces crammed in a station, he sees beautiful petals. He sees the reality behind the reality. He has an intense imagination and the patience to think about a single image for a long time until he figures out exactly what it means. What's more amazing is that he can keep his cool while living in the big city. He doesn't have to go out into the forest or the countryside to find natural beauty. He sees it all around him. Even when the crowd jostles him around, he never gets angry or frustrated. Whatever he's having for breakfast, we want some.