Monday, April 7, 2014

Edwin Arlington Robinson - Poetry

(Sorry I missed posting this last night.  I traveled over the weekend and my brain is fuzzy.)

The next poem up in this book of poetic delights is one that I know by name, but I'm not familiar with the poem itself.  I have some recollection that Simon and Garfunkel sang about Richard Cory, but I'd have to look that up.  Anyway, here is the poem:

Whenever Richard Cory wend down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich - yes, richer than a king -
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Well.  That's a pretty strong clash there.  Richard Cory is a god among men.  Everyone would want to change places with him.  He's attractive, intelligent, rich.  The envy of all.  But he was unhappy enough about something to take his own life.  Ironic.
We never really do know what it's like in someone else's head, do we?  What we think would make us happy, can be someone else's hell.  Actually, I wonder how true that is.  Especially when it comes to position and wealth.  But the point is well taken.  And rich people certainly do suicide.  Some quickly with guns, some slowly with drugs.  Examples are too numerous to point out.
A fine, if disturbing, poem.

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