He had me right up until take the red helmet off. I thought everything up to that point superbly written and recognized. But then the last bit; No longer a sailor or worker in faded navy work clothes, he somehow morphed into some unrecognizable being shadowed by the wings of some other being we can not fathom. If modern poetry is but senseless words, then I do not care for it. I have sat in the wings too long, and have seen senselessness praised as though some great art form. Alas, I do not see the merit of Picasso either. It's all nonsense to me. The king is naked, and sometimes I fear only I can see. Perhaps I am the fool incapable of siing it.
What do you mean, a sailor or worker? The poem is called The Woman at the Washington Zoo. The narrator is a woman, sickened by what she has become, her blue suit pale compared to the bright saris, her soul the dead meat eaten by the vultures, longing for salvation. Nothing so modern here; similar themes have been explored throughout the arts. Try the film Revolutionary Road. You'll find the Kate Winslet character sees herself as being in the same predicament.
Such a great poem by the greatest critic of the 20th century. If one wants to learn to write competent poetry, this man is the one to read and study; not just his poems but the provocative things he says about poems. -LP