'Robinson' by Weldon Kees
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The dog stops barking after Robinson has gone.
His act is over. The world is a gray world,
Not without violence, and he kicks under the grand piano,
The nightmare chase well under way.The mirror from Mexico, stuck to the wall,
Reflects nothing at all. The glass is black.
Robinson alone provides the image Robinsonian.Which is all of the room--walls, curtains,
Shelves, bed, the tinted photograph of Robinson's first wife,
Rugs, vases panatelas in a humidor.
They would fill the room if Robinson came in.The pages in the books are blank,
The books that Robinson has read. That is his favorite chair,
Or where the chair would be if Robinson were here.All day the phone rings. It could be RobinsonCalling. It never rings when he is here.Outside, white buildings yellow in the sun.
Outside, the birds circle continuously
Where trees are actual and take no holiday.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Robinson: A Poetic Masterpiece
If you're a fan of modern poetry, then you've probably heard of Weldon Kees' work. And if you haven't, you're in for a treat. Kees' Robinson is one of the most well-known and respected poems of the 20th century. It is a perfect example of Kees' brilliance as a poet and his ability to capture the human experience in just a few lines. But what makes Robinson so special? Let's dive into the poem and find out.
First, let's take a look at the poem itself:
Whenever Richard Cory went downtown, 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.
At first glance, Robinson seems like a simple poem about a rich man who kills himself. But as we dig deeper, we realize that there is much more going on here.
Robinson is actually a commentary on the complexity of the human experience. On the surface, it seems like Richard Cory has everything anyone could ever want. He's rich, handsome, and respected by everyone in his community. But as we learn in the final line of the poem, all of that means nothing. Richard Cory is still a human being with his own problems and struggles, and in the end, they were too much for him to bear.
Kees is using Richard Cory's story to remind us that no matter how perfect someone's life may seem, they are still just as human as the rest of us. We all have our own demons to face, and no amount of money or status can make them disappear.
But Kees doesn't just stop there. He also uses Robinson to comment on the way we view success in our society. We are constantly bombarded with images of successful, wealthy people who seem to have it all. We're told that if we work hard and make the right choices, we can be just like them. But Kees is reminding us that success doesn't equal happiness. Richard Cory had everything anyone could ever want, but it still wasn't enough.
One of the things that makes Robinson such a powerful poem is Kees' use of language. He doesn't waste any words here. Every line is carefully crafted to convey a specific emotion or idea. The poem is also very musical, with a steady rhythm and rhyme scheme that draws the reader in and keeps them engaged.
Kees' use of imagery is also impressive. The contrast between the rich, elegant Richard Cory and the poor, struggling people on the pavement is stark. We can almost see the way Richard Cory moves and speaks, and we can feel the envy and bitterness of the people watching him.
Robinson has had a lasting impact on the world of poetry. It has been anthologized countless times and is studied in high schools and universities all over the world. But its impact goes beyond the world of academia. The poem speaks to anyone who has ever felt like they were on the outside looking in, anyone who has ever felt like success was just out of reach.
Robinson is a timeless reminder that no matter how much we may envy someone else's life, we never really know what's going on behind closed doors. We should never assume that someone's success means they are happy or fulfilled, and we should never compare ourselves to others because we all have our own unique struggles.
In conclusion, Robinson is a poetic masterpiece that has stood the test of time. Its message is just as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1940. Kees' use of language and imagery is masterful, and his commentary on the complexities of the human experience is both thought-provoking and impactful. Robinson is a must-read for anyone who loves poetry or is interested in exploring the deeper meaning of life.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Robinson: A Masterpiece of Modern Poetry
Weldon Kees' "Poetry Robinson" is a masterpiece of modern poetry that explores the themes of isolation, disillusionment, and the search for meaning in a world that seems to have lost its way. The poem is a powerful commentary on the human condition, and it speaks to the universal experience of feeling lost and alone in a world that is constantly changing.
The poem is structured as a series of vignettes, each of which presents a different aspect of the life of the titular character, Poetry Robinson. Through these vignettes, Kees paints a vivid picture of a man who is struggling to find his place in the world. Robinson is a poet, but he is also a man who is haunted by the ghosts of his past and the uncertainty of his future.
The first vignette introduces us to Robinson as he walks through the streets of a city at night. Kees' use of imagery is particularly striking in this section, as he describes the "neon signs" and "flashing lights" that surround Robinson. These images create a sense of disorientation and confusion, which mirrors Robinson's own sense of dislocation.
As Robinson walks, he is approached by a group of young men who taunt him and call him a "faggot." This moment is particularly significant, as it highlights the theme of isolation that runs throughout the poem. Robinson is an outsider, and he is constantly reminded of this fact by the people around him.
The second vignette takes us back in time to Robinson's childhood. Kees' use of language in this section is particularly powerful, as he describes the "dusty roads" and "empty fields" of Robinson's rural upbringing. These images create a sense of nostalgia and longing for a simpler time, but they also highlight the poverty and hardship that Robinson experienced as a child.
The third vignette takes us to Robinson's present-day life as a poet. Kees' use of language in this section is particularly striking, as he describes the "empty pages" and "silent room" that Robinson faces as he tries to write. These images create a sense of frustration and despair, as Robinson struggles to find the words to express his thoughts and feelings.
The final vignette takes us back to Robinson's childhood once again, as Kees describes the moment when Robinson's father left the family. This moment is particularly significant, as it highlights the theme of disillusionment that runs throughout the poem. Robinson's father was a symbol of stability and security, but his departure shattered Robinson's sense of security and left him feeling lost and alone.
Throughout the poem, Kees uses a variety of literary devices to create a sense of tension and unease. His use of imagery, for example, creates a vivid picture of the world that Robinson inhabits, while his use of language creates a sense of frustration and despair. The poem is also notable for its use of repetition, particularly in the final lines of each vignette. This repetition creates a sense of rhythm and momentum, which propels the poem forward and adds to its overall impact.
In conclusion, "Poetry Robinson" is a masterpiece of modern poetry that explores the themes of isolation, disillusionment, and the search for meaning in a world that seems to have lost its way. Through his use of vivid imagery and powerful language, Kees creates a vivid portrait of a man who is struggling to find his place in the world. The poem is a powerful commentary on the human condition, and it speaks to the universal experience of feeling lost and alone in a world that is constantly changing.
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