This was a hard poem to write, because it’s true. Most of my poems are a mix of truth, fiction and daydreaming, which allows me to enjoy them without taking them too seriously, but this hit home.
In this poem, Richard Cory is referring to the poem “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson…a poem I read in middle school. Google it. It still makes me tear up.
The expected gesture
is to console the widow
by whispering sincere apologies
into her ear as you hug inside the funeral parlor
which happens to be the church basement
where a dull urn holds the last of his ashes
that long ago began to scatter like weeds
in what once was a lovely garden.
The polite thing is to mention
what a gentleman he was as he lived among us,
handsome and imperially slim – always with two faces,
like Richard Cory, but without the mess of a bullet.
He chose a cleaner method.
The thing you won’t say
is that you wish he’d had the courtesy to do it outside,
or in the barn, or the garage, sooner,
and that you’re glad he’s gone—
and you’ll never tell her that you know
she feels the same.