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The story is about a marble villa, which is in the following sentence referred to as a poem:

Lone and shaken mourned the humble courts and the lower walls, for upon the sumptuous greater peristyle had fallen squarely the heavy overhanging bough of the strange new tree, reducing the stately poem in marble with odd completeness to a mound of unsightly ruins.

What does it mean? Should it perhaps imply that it was just so artistic, delicate, a piece of art (such as a poem)?

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This seems to be, as you suggest, a metaphor.

The marble hall (a peristyle) was poetic in design, possibly referring to both its beauty and artfulness, but also its poetic rhythm of columns around the perimeter.

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