Pound talks about rocks, but I’m not sure if he would have liked geology. Geology is not an instantaneous science, and if he tried to describe a rock outcrop by only using “[his] intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time,” he’d be missing much of the story. Geology takes time, context, and observation, which are all things that Pound doesn’t seem to prioritize.
Imagery, I think, uses those tools of time, context, and observation just as much as it uses an “intellectual and emotional complex.” As a writer, I sometimes find myself trying to observe things from only one perspective, but, as a geologist, I find myself going at a problem from different angles. I think that creating good imagery, might be a bit like creating good science. It need observations to get it started and more observations to get it going. Imagery needs questions, and the creativity to answer them. Imagery can, but doesn’t need to, be the static instant that Pound describes.
I say this, because poetry shouldn’t just be “as much like granite as it can be,” because not everything that looks like granite is. There are granitic rocks, that don’t have the right percentages of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase to be, what petrologists call, granite. There are “black granite countertops” sold from home improvement stores, that most likely are not actually made of granite. If I am to be accurate writer, I want to work towards something other than writing that is “as much like granite as it can be.” I want to work towards imagery that uses context and nit-picky observation to show a reader what is happening both on the surface of the image and within the image itself. I want to approach writing, not only as a writer but also as a scientist.