Fleur Du Mal
Hmm, I might agree that if images would cloud the poem, they would have to go. However, I believe that there are poems where the imagery is the poem, so there's no fear of clouding it up with it. Here are two excerpts from Pablo Neruda's poetry, the first from Nothing but Death and the other from Ode to the Cat (both poems are somewhat long, thus only excerpts -- you can follow the links if you want to read them whole):
There are cemeteries that are lonely,
graves full of bones that do not make a sound,
the heart moving through a tunnel,
in it darkness, darkness, darkness,
like a shipwreck we die going into ourselves,
as though we were drowning inside our hearts,
as though we lived falling out of the skin into the soul.
And there are corpses,
feet made of cold and sticky clay,
death is inside the bones,
like a barking where there are no dogs,
coming out from bells somewhere, from graves somewhere,
growing in the damp air like tears of rain.
But the cat
wants nothing more than to be a cat,
and every cat is pure cat
from its whiskers to its tail,
from sixth sense to squirming rat,
from nighttime to its golden eyes.
Nothing hangs together
quite like a cat:
neither flowers nor the moon
It's a thing by itself,
like the sun or a topaz,
and the elastic curve of its back,
which is both subtle and confident,
is like the curve of a sailing ship's prow.
The cat's yellow eyes
are the only
for depositing the coins of night.
To me, both poems concentrate on visualizing and describing their subjects; the first one describes death through poetry and the other one the animal known as cat. I can only make assumptions about the deeper meaning behind the visualization of death in Nothing but Death, but especially the Ode to the Cat is to me "just" a appraising, strongly visual description of the essence of cats. I enjoyed both poems because of their imagery and wished for nothing more.
Does poetry always need a so-called deeper meaning?
Pablo Neruda's poems are very different from haiku, that usually do have a philosophical thought behind them. Sometimes they, too, focus more on symbolism, though. Or so I think. =P Here's an example by Matsuo Basho:
through the bamboo grove;
a cuckoo crying.
The images make my brains tick. The moonlight and filtering through bamboos and the cry of the cuckoo deliver such a striking feel of emptiness.
I've found that I read poetry with strong imagery a lot slower than, say, poems that are story-oriented like the Canterbury Tales. The fact that the "plot" is taken out or hidden, makes me think about each line before proceeding.
As to the question of describing emotions through imagery, I'd say for extremly strong emotions (especially if they are negative) I try to use words that would be easily visualized by the reader. Explicitly explained wrath turns easily too ranty and very ugly, imo. It's easier to approach a tempest than a scorned poet. =P
I'd be very interested in the names of those poems you refer to, Xirmi. And I am going to check out that poem of yours. =P