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Skunk Hour
Skunk Hour
by Robert Lowell

Stanza 3 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 13-14

The season's ill –
we've lost our summer millionaire,

  • To say "the season's ill" means that something is not right, or not quite the way it usually is.
  • Lowell finally includes the speaker in this line with "we've." Now we know the speaker isn't someone passing through the place, but someone who lives there.
  • There was a millionaire who was living at the place over the summer and now he's gone. There are a lot of coastal towns that deal with this sort of thing – rich people have summer homes there, but leave during the cold months. Then there are the people who maybe can't afford to leave, and must stay there all year long.

Lines 15-17

who seemed to leap from an L. L. Bean
catalogue. His nine-knot yawl
was auctioned off to lobstermen.

  • The L.L. Bean description is pretty funny, maybe a way of poking fun at the fancy schmancy sailor type who wants to look like he's from Maine (L.L. Bean is a Maine company).
  • A yawl is a kind of sailboat, and "nine-knot" describes how fast it goes (it's a nice one).
  • The millionaire's boat has been auctioned off to the lobstermen (one example of a resident that must stay and work year-round).

Line 18

A red fox stain covers Blue Hill.

  • This line is kind of mysterious. The red stain makes us think of blood and creates a spooky, "something's wrong" feel.
  • But think about the time of year – it's probably late- to mid-fall, and the leaves on Blue Hill (a place in the town) are probably changing colors. Our guess is that the speaker is referring to the bright red foliage in this line.

Next Page: Stanza 4
Previous Page: Stanza 2

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