poet Henry Abbey

Henry Abbey

Henry Abbey
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Henry Abbey was an American poet who is best remembered for the poem, What do we plant when we plant a tree? He is also known for The Bedouin's Rebuke.


In much of his work, Abbey displays traditional characteristics of the nineteenth century American poetic approach. He uses inversions and has fluid feel; his style takes notable influence from that of English poet James Henry Leigh Hunt. The Bedouin's Rebuke can be compared to Hunt's Abou Ben Adhem, which employs similar metric flow. Abbey was fond of simple subject matter, such as remorse or happiness; his poetry often forms an anecdote or short story which builds in intensity, reaches a climactic struggle ... more »

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Best Poem of Henry Abbey

The Drawbridge Keeper

Drecker, a drawbridge keeper, opened wide
The dangerous gate to let the vessel through;
His little son was standing by his side,
Above Passaic River deep and blue,
While in the distance, like a moan of pain,
Was heard the whistle of the coming train.

At once brave Drecker worked to swing it back,
The gate-like bridge that seems a gate of death;
Nearer and nearer, on the slender track,
Came the swift engine, puffing its white breath.
Then, with a shriek, the loving father saw
His darling boy fall headlong from the draw!

Either at once down in the ...

Read the full of The Drawbridge Keeper