Mr. Flood's Party

Robinson, Edwin Arlington

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Jun-24-1994
  • Last revised: Jan-10-2007


One night Old Eben Flood is climbing the hill from town to his home. At one point he stops and invites himself to take a drink from the jug he went to town to fill. As he walks the lonely road, he continues to talk to himself, inviting himself to have a drink in honor of his return, and for old time's sake, for "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."


This poignant poem evokes an elderly "burned-out" man taking refuge in alcohol. Perhaps he was ignored or abused in the town; perhaps his friends have all died. Desperate for companionship, he has only himself and his jug of liquor. The poem speaks to the loneliness of aging without friends or family.


First published: 1921

Primary Source

Selected Poems of Edwin Arlington Robinson



Place Published





Morton Dauwen Zabel