Archibald's Example

Poem By Edwin Arlington Robinson

Old Archibald, in his eternal chair,
Where trespassers, whatever their degree,
Were soon frowned out again, was looking off
Across the clover when he said to me:

“My green hill yonder, where the sun goes down
Without a scratch, was once inhabited
By trees that injured him—an evil trash
That made a cage, and held him while he bled.

“Gone fifty years, I see them as they were
Before they fell. They were a crooked lot
To spoil my sunset, and I saw no time
In fifty years for crooked things to rot.

“Trees, yes; but not a service or a joy
To God or man, for they were thieves of light.
So down they came. Nature and I looked on,
And we were glad when they were out of sight.

“Trees are like men, sometimes; and that being so,
So much for that.” He twinkled in his chair,
And looked across the clover to the place
That he remembered when the trees were there.

Comments about Archibald's Example

'...and he twinkled in his chair...' Good gawd! Only Robinson could make a statement like that work as chillingly as it does in this poem. No one in American literature paints the portrait of the half-crazed, semi-fantastic-to-the-point-of-riveting fascination 'outsider' half so well as he.


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