Fact v Fiction: A Girl by Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound’s “In A Station Of The Metro” was my introduction to imagist poetry, and it really captured my imagination, so I sought out more of his work and found “A Girl”. The poem’s title is not directly referred to in any way in the piece. However, its use of the word “you” could be interpreted as a call to the titular girl. The image that most easily invokes this connection is found in “You are violets with wind above them.” This is an incredibly minimalist sentence, but it manages to paint a vivid picture of flowers caressed by the wind, and relate it to a you. This relation creates a romantic sentiment not overtly seen anywhere before in the piece, and it is this sentiment that implies a connection between the girl and the “you”.


This sentiment is subverted almost immediately by the next line, “A child – so high –  you are,” when the romantic connotation is implied towards a child, which fits the title of “A Girl”. The two readings of “girl” are being very skillfully used by Pound, in that they take advantage of the connotation of a child and a possible romantic interest, and this perhaps is referred to in the closing line “And all this is folly to the world.”, which implies some sort of taboo or improper line being crossed. In my reading I saw two strong possibilities for what this folly is, it is either the folly of romantic intentions toward a child, or the folly of having a childlike nature as a sexual and romanticized woman in the world.


So far however, I have focused entirely on the second stanza of the poem. I have omitted the first because without the reading of the second it reads purely as images. However, with romantic and sexual connotations present, lines such as “The branches grow out of me, like arms.” and “The sap has ascended my arms,” become highly sexual images. This sexuality is communicated in minimalist and vivid images, and finally I am ready to think about them in terms of the theme of fact and fiction.
The sexual reading of this piece wherein the girl is a child is disturbing and it calls into question the aspect of “fact”, in that it beckons the reader to ask if there is some reality to it. However, the only absolute facts in this poem are its images. Every image that Pound conjures is a fact of the poem, outside of its relevance to reality, each image exists in itself. These images are the backbone of any reading of the poem, and compose its fiction status, whatever it may be.

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