Petals on a bough: The portrait of the poet & us

Flowers in bloom

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

“Faces in the crowd” is one thing, but “the apparition of faces in the crowd” is something entirely different: less direct, more refined and fragile. The “apparition” makes the faces look just a bit blurred, just a bit more ephemeral and momentary.

And this image is followed by yet another beautiful and momentary one, “petals on a wet, black bough.” The wetness of the branch and petals underlines the fragility of nature. It lets the beauty shine.

Put the lines/images together and you get a description of the beauty of humans, their nature and /or existence. Equating the outlines of faces–fleetingly seen by Pound at a metro station in Paris–with the exquisitely beautiful and fragile petals, is a mark of wisdom and empathy. In this light, I imagine the author, Ezra Pound. In a way, this poem reveals as much about our fragile human nature as it does about the humanity/humility of the poet.

We need more such poets in the world, and less people who glorify strength rather than fragility. If strength justifies war, fragility is a sign of refined beauty and peace. And as a fairy coach, it is this fragile beauty that I want to uncover in everyone, not their inabilities, disorders, disfunctions.

This two-line poem imprinted itself on my mind for its wisdom and beauty. And I began this blog post by quoting the poem and discussing it, rather than by first telling you how spellbound I’ve been by it. Perhaps if you just read it to yourself without first being told how to think about the poem, it will make a lasting impression on you as well, and the message of our human beauty will spread, petal by petal, and reach the infinite bough of humanity.




Karo Caran, the Rainbow Poetess, is a poet and a non/fiction writer. Her novel, "Breaking the silence: A story in paintings" focuses on the censorship of art and gay relationships in the postwar, communist Poland. Her poetry-based memoir, "Life in a Footnotes" will be published this summer.
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11 thoughts on “Petals on a bough: The portrait of the poet & us

    • Thank you, Susan! Since I came up with the term fairy coach, I too am always rethinking the best way to explain it to myself and others. I’m very glad to hear that this one worked for you. 🙂

  1. Yes, yes and yes! I love this Karo. As an incredibly sensitive person, I’ve had to struggle with ‘vulnerability’ being a strength. And a ‘vivid sensitivity’ being insight. Those two things I used to be ashamed of in a sense, I just wanted to be like ‘everyone else’, who seemed to not ‘feel’ things as much. But now I realise that if it wasn’t for these things, I simply would not be able to do what I do. There is as much need for ‘fragile lilies’ (ooohhh that sounds weak:) but you know what I mean! ) as big robust sunflowers! Now you’ve got the poetry in me going! Thanks for your words. Jx

    • Hi Julie, I’m so glad that you overcame your beliefs! Imagine if we all were the robust sunflowers–a pretty boring picture. And I have nothing against the sunflowers, but I do think that it is the more sensitive type of people who endow the world with their different perspective on things. So please keep blooming!!!

  2. Thank you for sharing… it is such a vibrant picture of human fragility and really does connect to the fairy <3 I love you! I feel as though we are long long sisters <3 <3 <3

    • Thank you, Mimi, for your kindness. And who knows, perhaps we have known each other on our soul’s evolution journey? You really cannot rule that out. Love you too! <3!

  3. Very ephemeral post based on the ephemeral beauty of a picture and a quote. Very lovely.

    Julieanne Case
    Always from the heart!

    Reconnecting you to your Original Blueprint, Your Essence, Your Joy| Healing you from the Inside Out |Reconnective Healing | The Reconnection| Reconnective Art |

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