"Anecdote of the Jar" seems an interesting poem. It describes the relationship between the art and the nature.
The jar here means a work of art, which is a man-made thing, not a part of the nature. When it was placed in the wilderness of Tennessee, the nature, the slovenly wilderness surrounded it would become in order. In the first stanza, we know the shape of the jar is round. Man-made art has its fixed form and order, but the nature was slipshod. The speaker put art in high esteem; it can influence and beautify the nature.
"The wilderness rose up to it, and sprawled around, no longer wild." It describes that the jar seems like a powerful and respectable king, and the wilderness as citizens and officers show the sincere respect to their mighty king with their body language. Just like people show the worship to the hero or idol in their heart. "It took dominion everywhere." It seems that the art is very great. "The jar was gray and bare. It did not give of bird or bush." The man-made art may be very beautiful, but it is "dead." It's lifeless. Although the wilderness is slovenly, not as in order as the art, there are endless lives full of it. In the nature, birds may give birth of their little nestling, flowers and trees may blossom and sprout again and again in every year. The endless lifecycle in the vast nature would go on and continue forever without an end. The nature filled with hope, vitality, lives, and natural beauty without any painstaking decoration.
From the positive viewpoint, we can say that the jar in the wilderness means the man-made art can influence, change and beautify the nature. It can make the nature become mare measured and beautiful. In the opposite, the jar in the wilderness seems that the man-made art destroys the natural sight and beauty. It is not a part of the nature.
The title is "Anecdote of the Jar." The speaker uses the word "anecdote" to describe the relationship. It seems to tell us a story of the jar as like a person's adventure or interesting story. The poem uses an easy way to describe.
Both of the poem opening and closing lines end with Tennessee. I guess it may means the nature is endless, like a circle.