At the very first, I want to say that actually I don't exactly understand this poem. The reason why I make choice of this poem is that I just find it not merely interesting but also much meaningful. In the following I would try my best to analyze the poem sentance by sentance.
The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
At the first sight, it feels a little bit gloomy and grotesome because the word " haunted." --- a negative adjective. It just looks like the houses are bathed in mist and the atmosphere is also extraordinarily quiet and strange. In addition, genarally speaking, "white night-gowns" are characteristic of GHOSTS. However, somehow I don't think that those the speaker refers to are ghosts or spirits. On the contrary, I think they are humanbeings. Besides "pale", WHITE is also kind of color original and clean, still unchanged and unpoluted. Why are the nightgowns in white rather than in colorful? ---In my opinoion, the people dress in white just like wearing uniforms becuase they don't want to be different from others. If somebody is in colored clothes, he might be so apparent and so outstanding to draw others' attention easily. He is too "special." As far as our society is concerned, I am presuaded that most of us behave or dress as normally as possible for fear that we should be looked upon as an eccentric or a freak.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
The sentance strongly points out that they are ONLY dressed in white, not in any other "strange" color. Moreover, those colors of which the speaker makes mention are kind of clolors eye-catching, and being in one of them must be considered a queer guy.
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
The sentance describes the nightgowns' dress much more. They wear usual clothes still because they don't want to appear distinct or varied. However, I can't look up the word "ceinture" in my dictionaries. So I don't know exactly what the word means, I just guess it might be a kind of clothes --- common clothes.
People are not going
To dream of banoons or periwinkles.
I think they are not going to dream of those things because they don't want to be viewed as unusual guys and they might be scared not to be accepted by others and to be pushed out from a group or the public. They cannot be freed even in their own dreams. They are still controlled by what others would think themselves. Even though I don't know what the connotations of both are, I think dreaming of either of them wouldn't lead to a good situation.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
In red weather.
I'm sure the sentance is the main idea the speaker wants to show to us. It talks about an old sailor pursues what he likes. Actually I can't judge whether he is in the real world or in his own dream. No matter where he is, he is pursuit of those that he considers valuable and worthy to catch. First, "old" --- it occurs to me that there is a well-kmown saying, "Live and learn." I think the man is persevering, not worried about what others' would think . He hangs on his learning or something else. He doesn't care if he is different from others, and just be himself ---"drunk" and "asleep." Second, "in his BOOTS" maybe means he does what he likes to do in his own space and he needn't to mind others' feelings towards himself. Third, "tigers" are kind of animal rare and valuable. they are suggestive of "treasure." ---maybe "freedom." I don't know. The last, "in red weather" probably means in his sincere heart. RED has lots of connotations --- hot, fervent, zeal and hot-blooded and so on. In my opinion, the sentance shows the sailor's enthusiasm and that he is zealous for his beloved things, including being himself.
After reading this poem several times, I finally could realize a little what the speaker wants to tell us --- the relationship between an individual and the society. I think it's better for everyone to have his personalities. I don't mean being the same as others is bad. I think each of us should have his own life.
In fact, it's okey to be a little bit different from others. Even if sometimes the group pressure would be heavy, I think it doesn't matter much. Besides, if we decide to do something or to be somebody, it's important to make up our minds and keep it on whatever happens. Don't be afraid that you would rub others the wrong way or someone may disdain for you.