Edwin Arlington Robinson

(22 December 1869 – 6 April 1935 / Maine / United States)

Mr. Flood's Party


Old Eben Flood, climbing alone one night
Over the hill between the town below
And the forsaken upland hermitage
That held as much as he should ever know
On earth again of home, paused warily.
The road was his with not a native near;
And Eben, having leisure, said aloud,
For no man else in Tilbury Town to hear:

"Well, Mr. Flood, we have the harvest moon
Again, and we may not have many more;
The bird is on the wing, the poet says,
And you and I have said it here before.
Drink to the bird." He raised up to the light
The jug that he had gone so far to fill,
And answered huskily: "Well, Mr. Flood,
Since you propose it, I believe I will."

Alone, as if enduring to the end
A valiant armor of scarred hopes outworn.
He stood there in the middle of the road
Like Roland's ghost winding a silent horn.
Below him, in the town among the trees,
Where friends of other days had honored him,
A phantom salutation of the dead
Rang thinly till old Eben's eyes were dim.

Then, as a mother lays her sleeping child
Down tenderly, fearing it may awake,
He sat the jug down slowly at his feet
With trembling care, knowing that most things break;
And only when assured that on firm earth
It stood, as the uncertain lives of men
Assuredly did not, he paced away,
And with his hand extended paused again:

"Well, Mr. Flood, we have not met like this
In a long time; and many a change has come
To both of us, I fear, since last it was
We had a drop together. Welcome home!"
Convivially returning with himself,
Again he raised the jug up to the light;
And with an acquiescent quaver said:
"Well, Mr. Flood, if you insist, I might.

"Only a very little, Mr. Flood--
For auld lang syne. No more, sir; that will do."
So, for the time, apparently it did
And Eben apparently thouht so too;
For soon among the silver loneliness
Of night he lifted up his voice and sang,
Secure, with only two moons listening,
Until the whole harmonious landscape rang--

"For auld lang syne." The weary throat gave out,
The last word wavered, and the song was done.
He raised again the jug regretfully
And shook his head, and was again alone.
There was not much that was ahead of him,
And there was nothing in the town below--
Where strangers would have shut the many doors
That many friends had opened long ago.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
5 person liked.
1 person did not like.

Form:


Read poems about / on: alone, home, believe, silver, change, together, light, moon, child, song, mother, fear, night, sleep, friend, hope, children, tree, wind

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Mr. Flood's Party by Edwin Arlington Robinson )

  • Freshman - 1,167 Points Michael Walker (2/7/2015 6:05:00 PM)

    I like the wit and insight in this poem about a man who is really talking to himself. Mr Flood has lost most of his friends in Tilbury Town. It is one of Robinson's very best poems, in my opinion. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,167 Points Michael Walker (2/7/2015 6:05:00 PM)

    I like the wit and insight in this poem about a man who is really talking to himself. Mr Flood has lost most of his friends in Tilbury Town. It is one of Robinson's very best poems, in my opinion. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 6,986 Points Frank Avon (8/24/2014 1:18:00 PM)

    I'm sorry Robinson isn't best known for this poem, which is so many ways is better than either Richard Cory or Miniver Cheevy. This one is so precise in its realism, so exact; it is, at the same time, charming and sad, humorous and tragic. I like old Eben. Thanks to Robinson, I understand him. He is not to be pitied; he should be respected. Where are those neighbors who honored him long ago - and should still? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 58 Points Brian Jani (5/9/2014 2:20:00 PM)

    Wow I enjoyed your poem Edwin (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Francine Moshi (10/1/2011 12:18:00 PM)

    We come alone into the world, well really me & I. Subject of unknown replicator(s) . And through life we go and alone we shall go out of it. Satisfy that human condition, as much as you can Mr. Flood. It's your life. (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  5. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  6. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  7. If, Rudyard Kipling
  8. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  9. Mother to Son, Langston Hughes
  10. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
[Hata Bildir]