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From: Ken Armstrong [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>After you get "the meaning," what do you do with it?
>
>This is a serious question

   Yes, agreed, and for the most part not so well contended with. "the
meaning" of a poem is not like the meaning of a word you look up in the
dictionary. Or it is the same thing, i.e. like what a word is besides what
it is in a dictionary ("Dictionaries drive words out of their senses" etc.)
I don't think there is a finish line for getting a poem (i.e. there is not
the kind of "after" that your question implies) or a poet's meaning, but
that there is "the meaning" or "the way to read the poem" must be so. There
is no way to prove that, but it may be fair to point out that asking for
proof is an indicator of being on the wrong track. Poems are not laboratory
science.
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Interesting how we get an intrusion of trolls or troll-like
creatures, claiming to have the inside dope on Eliot, or whatever,
thinking they are doing us a favour by being controversial so
we will get worked up over their issues, and said issues and trolls
all fall flat on their already flattened faces. One high school
student comes along with a request on a poem for which there
is no easy or ready made answer, and all of a sudden we have a
real, if same old and familiar, debate on our hands.

Cheers,
Peter