The title of this poem is "Anecdote of the Jar," and anecdote means a short but interesting story. I think the speaker wants to draw our attention by telling stories. He says something about the jar in a casual way instead of on a serious way; in this way, the readers will desire to know the jar. The speaker really catches the readers' attention.
In the first stanza, someone placed a jar in Tennessee, and the slovenly wilderness surrounded it. The jar is symbolic of the art, and the wilderness is the nature. Therefore, "I" in the first line can refer to artists, poets, or anyone who has something with art. In the second stanza, because of the jar, the "slovenly" wilderness seems to be in a good order. "The wilderness rose up to it, And sprawled around, no longer wild" After reading these, I will have an image that the jar is like the king, and he controlled the wilderness. The wilderness shows their respect to the king. So far, we may think that the jar is better than the wilderness. However, in the third stanza, we know we are wrong. "It took dominion everywhere. The jar was gray and bare." Although the jar has control of the wilderness, it is "gray" and "bare." That means it is liveless and empty. " Like nothing else in Tennessee." It can't give birth, and it is just an object, it is dead. On the contrary, the wilderness is live, and they can give birth. They will last, keep going and won't die.
This poem is about the relation between art and nature. Although nature seems "slovenly," and artists can organize nature by art and make us appreciate the beauty of the nature in another way, it is still different between a work of art and the nature itself. After all, nature is full of life. Even if the work of art is vivid, it is still liveless.
In this poem, the opening and closing lines end with Tennessee, in my opinion, it wants to stress the wilderness in Tennessee (the nature) will never die, and give birth on and on. Besides, the word "round" is repeated. It also has the same meaning. It symbolizes the nature is like a circle, keeps going and won't stop. The rhymes are within the lines instead of occurring at the ends of lines, and this is called "internal rhyme," such as "round", "around", "ground", and "surround." Anyway, in this poem, I think the speaker criticizes the jar more than praising it.