He glittered when he walked

I remember when I first read the poem Richard Cory, by E.A. Robinson.  I was in 10th grade, in a creative writing class, and my teacher passed the poem out to the class.  I was reading it as the papers were still being passed out, and I was one of the first to reach the end.

I gasped. The teacher smiled.

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich, richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

I still have the poem memorized.  It still gives me chills.  People are not always as they appear to be.

4 responses to “He glittered when he walked

  1. that’s a cool poem. i don’t remember studying that one in high school –

    i find that many people that seem to “have it all” are privately miserable…

  2. One of my favorites from high school.

    Also, the Simon & Garfunkle tribute to that poem is a very different take (in tone), but worth a listen.

  3. We didn’t get that one in our standard curriculae. Whatdya wanna bet that it’s banned in schools now anyway?

    Sounds like a post-secret, almost, huh?

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