Robinson at Home

By Weldon Kees 1914–1955 Weldon Kees
Curtains drawn back, the door ajar.
All winter long, it seemed, a darkening
Began. But now the moonlight and the odors of the street   
Conspire and combine toward one community.

These are the rooms of Robinson.
Bleached, wan, and colorless this light, as though   
All the blurred daybreaks of the spring
Found an asylum here, perhaps for Robinson alone,

Who sleeps. Were there more music sifted through the floors   
And moonlight of a different kind,
He might awake to hear the news at ten,
Which will be shocking, moderately.

This sleep is from exhaustion, but his old desire   
To die like this has known a lessening.
Now there is only this coldness that he has to wear.   
But not in sleep.—Observant scholar, traveller,

Or uncouth bearded figure squatting in a cave,   
A keen-eyed sniper on the barricades,
A heretic in catacombs, a famed roué,
A beggar on the streets, the confidant of Popes—

All these are Robinson in sleep, who mumbles as he turns,   
“There is something in this madhouse that I symbolize—
This city—nightmare—black—”            
                                                   He wakes in sweat   
To the terrible moonlight and what might be
Silence. It drones like wires far beyond the roofs,   
And the long curtains blow into the room.

Weldon Kees, "Robinson at Home" from The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees edited by Donald Justice by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 1962, 1975, by the University of Nebraska Press. © renewed 2003 by the University of Nebraska Press.

Source: The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees (2003)

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Poet Weldon Kees 1914–1955

Subjects Home Life, Health & Illness, Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure

Poetic Terms Persona

 Weldon  Kees

Biography

Weldon Kees was born in Beatrice, Nebraska and attended Doane College, the University of Missouri and the University of Nebraska, earning his degree in 1935. In addition to writing, Kees was passionate about painting and throughout his life created many forms of art including experimental films. In 1955 Kees took his sleeping bag and his savings account book and disappeared, leaving his car on the Golden Gate Bridge. It is not . . .

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SUBJECT Home Life, Health & Illness, Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure

Poetic Terms Persona

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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