It is not a mystery that poems evoke different feelings as well as interpretations from all calibers of individuals. The Drunken Fisherman by Robert Lowell is no different. It is true that one poem can generate a feeling of sympathy from one person, while at the same time another reader can experience despondency from the same poem.
The Drunken Fisherman is a reflection of one person’s lifestyle and the choices he makes in life. This is well captured in the opening lines “I cast for fish that pleased my eye.” Indeed, it can be inferred that the speaker is talking in a metaphorical sense and that the fish he talks about represent more his daily endeavors. It is clear that the fisherman is catching loose women with red lips whose open mouths are pleasing to his eyes. Indeed, he is not concerned about their spiritual souls or salvation of their souls, but rather for his own lust. These catches come easily and are lost easily.
This poem, as said above is a metaphor of life. Lowell compares blood and water in the first lines. He wishes to catch fish to satisfy his worldly desires; however, these turn out to be elusive. This, he tries to show the inability of human desires in meeting the needs of humanity. Lowell tries to show that human endeavors are vain and that people should look beyond themselves for everlasting hope and peace. This is seen in the last stanza where he makes a comparison to Christ and how people should seek Him for salvation.
This poem also teaches that with every choice that people make, there are consequences. Indeed, it is only a matter of time before humanity discovers this as even people’s culture is headed towards entropy. Therefore, the central argument is that of hopelessness if people do not seek deliverance through salvation.