Reuben, Reuben

Harper, Michael

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Shafer, Audrey
  • Date of entry: May-04-2001


This poem concerns the poet's painful loss of his infant son: "a brown berry gone / to rot just two days on the branch . . . . " The anguish is raw and fierce. Throughout the poem emotion and music are intertwined. The poet reaches for a way to deal with his grief and finds a "music great enough" to offer solace and understanding: jazz.


The poet reads this poem in the Public Broadcasting System Bill Moyers series, "The Language of Life." He comments on the creation of the poem, from jotting a few notes to deal with grief, to later crafting the actual poem.

Primary Source

Images of Kin: New and Selected Poems


Univ. of Illinois Press

Place Published

Champaign, Ill.