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As the resident artist at EcoHealth, I pen verse these days inspired by the specter of future pandemics; for my dissertation at Amerika-Institut of LMU München, where I edit a weekly circular on poetry, I'm anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson's sonnets—I also teach English, tutor composition, and lead a literary circle.

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Reuben Bright

by 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.

Note:  A recitation can be found here.

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