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Edwin Arlington Robinson - Reuben Bright

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.

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Added: Feb 4 2004 | Viewed: 11568 times | Comments and analysis of Reuben Bright by Edwin Arlington Robinson Comments (4)

Reuben Bright - Comments and Information

Poet: Edwin Arlington Robinson
Poem: Reuben Bright
Poem of the Day: Jan 31 2013

Comment 4 of 4, added on December 21st, 2014 at 10:32 AM.
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Comment 3 of 4, added on August 6th, 2011 at 11:27 PM.
Reuben Bright

My take on this poem is much different than any I have ever read or heard. Reuben Bright was a butcher because it was a means to support his wife and family. He suffered and sacrificed his life for the sake of his wife because that was what was required of him. When his wife died that burden was removed and he could finally cleanse himself of that self-imposed duty and start his life again for himself. He never really wanted to be a butcher and he now has no need for the slaughterhouse.

John Bravo from United States
Comment 2 of 4, added on November 9th, 2005 at 4:27 PM.

I just lost my mother, and this poem makes me want to tear down the slaughter house in my heart. I know how Reuben felt...

michael cook from United States

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