Asked • 06/13/19

Why is "waistcoat" modified by "leering" in the poem “A German Requiem"?

In the fifth line from the third stanza of "A German Requiem", the word *waistcoat* is modified by *leering*. I can understand *waistcoat* is personified as a person here. Is this person the priest? And why is this person *leering*? I cannot get any clue from the context. So I was thinking maybe there are some cultural background behind this? Below is the stanza: > How comforting it is, once or twice a year, To get together and forget the old times. As on those special days, ladies and gentlemen, When the boiled shirts gather at the graveside And a leering waistcoat approaches the rostrum. It is like a solemn pact between the survivors. They mayor has signed it on behalf of the freemasonry. The priest has sealed it on behalf of all the rest. Nothing more need be said, and it is better that way- Here is the link to the poem. <https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-german-requiem/>

1 Expert Answer

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Meghan C. answered • 09/21/20

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