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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 236

In the first stanza, the speaker describes a "heavy bear" who seems to go with him everywhere he goes; this is a metaphor for the physical part of him: it is "Clumsy and lumbering" and craves "candy, anger, and sleep" like some sort of hedonist who only lives for physical pleasure and gratification.

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In the second stanza, the speaker elaborates on how the bear is with him when he sleeps, how it dreams of sugar and completing terrifying, death-defying feats. But then, the bear also can be terrified, dressed up, with an erection, a "bulging [in] his pants" that humiliates him and then scares him as he thinks about how it will "wince to nothing at all," growing smaller as the erection softens. You can see how the bear is concerned with all that is physical: eating, sleeping, sex.

In the third stanza, the narrator says that he cannot escape the bear and that it has been with him since the womb. The bear makes him "A stupid clown of the spirit's motive": whatever greatness he intends, the bear reduces it; whatever he means to do, the bear changes it into something less, "distorting [his] gesture." And although the speaker might want to make himself vulnerable and emotional, to "bare [his] heart," the bear drags him away to be like everyone else, to satisfy his physical "appetite" like everyone else, "the hundred million of his kind."

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