I've been reading Jack Gilbert's Collected Poems on and off over the last few months, and have enjoyed it a great deal. One of the poems that had drawn my attention to the book was this. There's a lot that I like about it, but having re-read it a couple of times, something struck me.
It's that "It's strange that she has returned / as somebody's dalmation". For me, that flags up exactly where the poem is going far too early, and undermines the impact of the final sentence. I'd prefer him to have introduced the man and dog more matter-of-factly.
So, I've been trying to think of any other poems that, for me, are close to being absolute gems, but where a single line or even word ruins things ever so slightly. I haven't come up with any yet, but I will. Can you?