on Writing Forward:
The search for deeper meaning in a poem implies that it might contain a hidden message. But poetry is not coded messaging; it’s artful communication. It’s more useful to ask what a poem communicates than to ask what it secretly means.
Some poems are straightforward; there’s no interpretation to be made because they are clear about what they are trying to say. Others are wrapped in mystery, open to different interpretations and ideas. And some are completely obtuse.
It’s not unusual for analysts of poetry to search for hidden meaning, and sometimes poems do indeed contain coded messages. But when evaluating a poem, there are other things we can seek.