Reuben Bright

By Edwin Arlington Robinson 1869–1935 Edwin Arlington Robinson
Because he was a butcher and thereby
Did earn an honest living (and did right),
I would not have you think that Reuben Bright
Was any more a brute than you or I;
For when they told him that his wife must die,
He stared at them, and shook with grief and fright,
And cried like a great baby half that night,
And made the women cry to see him cry.

And after she was dead, and he had paid
The singers and the sexton and the rest,
He packed a lot of things that she had made
Most mournfully away in an old chest
Of hers, and put some chopped-up cedar boughs
In with them, and tore down the slaughter-house.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Edwin Arlington Robinson 1869–1935

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Death, Jobs & Working, Activities

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Persona

 Edwin  Arlington Robinson

Biography

“One of the most prolific major American poets of the twentieth century, Edwin Arlington Robinson is, ironically, best remembered for only a handful of short poems,” stated Robert Gilbert in the Concise Dictionary of American Literary Biography. Fellow writer Amy Lowell declared in the New York Times Book Review, “Edwin Arlington Robinson is poetry. I can think of no other living writer who has so consistently dedicated his life . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Death, Jobs & Working, Activities

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Persona

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.