Gwendolyn Brooks

(7 June 1917 – 3 December 2000 / Topeka, Kansas)

The Ballad Of Rudolph Reed - Poem by Gwendolyn Brooks

Rudolph Reed was oaken.
His wife was oaken too.
And his two good girls and his good little man
Oakened as they grew.

"I am not hungry for berries.
I am not hungry for bread.
But hungry hungry for a house
Where at night a man in bed

"May never hear the plaster
Stir as if in pain.
May never hear the roaches
Falling like fat rain.

"Where never wife and children need
Go blinking through the gloom.
Where every room of many rooms
Will be full of room.

"Oh my home may have its east or west
Or north or south behind it.
All I know is I shall know it,
And fight for it when I find it."

The agent's steep and steady stare
Corroded to a grin.
Why you black old, tough old hell of a man,
Move your family in!

Nary a grin grinned Rudolph Reed,
Nary a curse cursed he,
But moved in his House. With his dark little wife,
And his dark little children three.

A neighbor would look, with a yawning eye
That squeezed into a slit.
But the Rudolph Reeds and children three
Were too joyous to notice it.

For were they not firm in a home of their own
With windows everywhere
And a beautiful banistered stair
And a front yard for flowers and a back for grass?

The first night, a rock, big as two fists.
The second, a rock big as three.
But nary a curse cursed Rudolph Reed.
(Though oaken as man could be.)

The third night, a silvery ring of glass.
Patience arched to endure,
But he looked, and lo! small Mabel's blood
Was staining her gaze so pure.

Then up did rise our Roodoplh Reed
And pressed the hand of his wife,
And went to the door with a thirty-four
And a beastly butcher knife.

He ran like a mad thing into the night
And the words in his mouth were stinking.
By the time he had hurt his first white man
He was no longer thinking.

By the time he had hurt his fourth white man
Rudolph Reed was dead.
His neighbors gathered and kicked his corpse.
"Nigger--" his neighbors said.

Small Mabel whimpered all night long,
For calling herself the cause.
Her oak-eyed mother did no thing
But change the bloody gauze.


Comments about The Ballad Of Rudolph Reed by Gwendolyn Brooks

  • Sylvia Frances Chan (7/11/2019 11:04:00 PM)

    Although a BALLAD, this could happen in reality. Ballads are stories occurred in daily life, but Ballads as these, so full pain and melancholy. Can we, in Europe, ever imagine how cruel life was for the Afro-Americans in the USA. Truly terrible and Poetess Gwendolyn Brooks illustrated in her poem how it was and truly was. IF there was no BALLAD added to the title, perhaps this poem was never published. CONGRATULATIONS being The Modern Poem Of The Day. Amazingly told. (Report)Reply

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  • Bernard F. Asuncion (7/11/2019 10:46:00 PM)

    A delightful poem by Gwendolyn Brooks.... (Report)Reply

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  • (7/11/2019 10:44:00 PM)

    With Michael agreed, good indeed
    is The Ballad of Rudolph Reed
    (Report)Reply

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  • Michael Walker (7/11/2019 8:12:00 PM)

    A passionate poem by one of my favourite writers. It does not disappoint. (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • (7/11/2019 12:13:00 PM)

    Do you understand the melody was played in Season One of Stranger Things also? It was one of the principal incredible scenes of the arrangement. http: //www.4cashpath.com/ At the point when the Police thought they found Will Byers dead, and his companions, who were attempting to save him. (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • (7/11/2019 12:05:00 PM)

    A touching account of the discrimination and injustices on black people by the white and former's ultimate victimization is narrated in the Ballad of Rudolph Reed. Well deserved modern poem of the Day. (Report)Reply

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  • (7/11/2019 9:57:00 AM)

    " You set your conflict in the face of day? ════HERE► ► ­­w­­­­w­­­w­­­.­­­candycash7.­­­c­­­o­­­m­­­⁰
    " One hero find in all of your vaunting train,
    " Then see who loses, and who wins the apparent;
    " For he who wins, in triumph may also call for
    " Perpetual provider from the vanquish'd land:
    " Your armies I defy, your force despise,
    " By a ways inferior in Philistia's eyes:
    (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (7/11/2019 9:52:00 AM)

    " You set your conflict in the face of day?
    ══════HERE► ► ­­w­­­­w­­­w­­­.­­­candycash7.­­­c­­­o­­­m­­­⁰
    " One hero find in all of your vaunting train,
    " Then see who loses, and who wins the apparent;
    " For he who wins, in triumph may also call for
    " Perpetual provider from the vanquish'd land:
    " Your armies I defy, your force despise,
    " By a ways inferior in Philistia's eyes:
    (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Kumarmani Mahakul (7/11/2019 4:26:00 AM)

    This is a beautiful poem nicely written by Gwendolyn Brooks. (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi Louis (7/11/2019 3:42:00 AM)

    For calling herself the cause! !

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
    (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Adeeb Alfateh (7/11/2019 2:14:00 AM)

    " Oh my home may have its east or west
    Or north or south behind it.
    All I know is I shall know it,
    And fight for it when I find it."

    The agent's steep and steady stare
    Corroded to a grin.
    Why you black old, tough old of a man,
    Move your family in!

    great poem
    great write
    great 10+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Manpreet Singh (7/11/2019 1:53:00 AM)

    There is no place like home.
    A soldier who fights for his country is also fighting for his home.
    Its a heart touching ballad and loved the play on words.
    (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (2/25/2008 1:25:00 AM)

    Luving the read of this but saddened by the ballad such... Reed, Breed, Creed.. when is enough, enough... a house, a home, a castle.... in each other we must trust ... (Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (3/30/2007 7:26:00 PM)

    This poem is a real work of art. I love they way Gwendolyn Brooks writes. It is inspiring and informing at the same time. (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (3/10/2006 3:07:00 PM)

    I remember coming across this poem in high school 30 years ago. I loved it then. Reading this now, I still feel connection. Thank You for having such a wide variety of information. (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
Read all 15 comments »




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Read poems about / on: children, house, family, home, dark, night, change, beautiful, ballad, rain, mother, pain, child, flower, girl, rose, running



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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