This is a poem about emotional objectification.
Also, it's about hiding lonesome behind obsession.
Here is my interpretation:
From cowardice, the speaker built up, filled up, gilt, veneered, and made beautiful a muse, or an emotional object, with the sole purpose of producing sadness.
In an aside, the speaker denounces that act as infantile self-deception. The speaker is disgusted at his attempt to hide from himself the reality that he, rather than the muse, is the cause and creator of his own lonesome and sadness. The face, on which he spends his time and thoughts, is a veneer, taken through unrequited trade or obsession, for that emotional casket, or a mask, to gild that self-constructed muse.
In the third stanza, the speaker describes the muse, that coward's construct of sadness and obsession, venturing outward to the human owner of its own stolen face to see, or search for, one of two similar things:
"A match unmasked" - Another lonesome coward, a match to the speaker, hiding behind her own muse or constructs; the unmasking being an honest, mutual expression of lonesome, to be sated by its own duality. In essence, joy.
"My despair" - The speaker's own sadness, possibly highlighted by disappointment; the idea that he sources his own sadness, since he created that rejectable, sadness-productive construct for himself to hide behind. In essence, the prerequisite of joy.
Perhaps, another stanza would quantify the transition between the speaker's realization of causing his own sadness to any sense of joy, but anyone not already privy to that is unlikely to find it spelled out in a couple lines of verse.
Otherwise, to dwell on despair would be redundant, since the poem is largely about dwelling on despair.
Submitted:Feb 13, 2013
I built a muse to craft my blues,
Filled up and gilt with craven views--
Some mewling trick to fill the space:
Spending intellect to steal a face,
And mask a casket made of air--
Who ventures out to see, or trace,
On the still-indentured, human face,
A match unmasked, or my despair.
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