Another Elegy by Jericho Brown

By Angela Chude


The speaker watches his favorite professor shoot himself in the mouth. He goes home that night and turns 29 as he sleeps realizing how he has only a limited time to live.In the poem it says "Let's fight it out, baby. You only have so long left." He grows depressed and has to take medication to avoid the effects of the trauma ("Every night, I take a pill. Miss one and I'm gone, miss two and we're through"). The speaker watches a sunset and compares it to the end of a life.


The poem tells a narrative story about a person watching his professor die and contemplating his own life and how long it will last. The poem carries a depressing, solemn, and thoughtful tone. The speaker is constantly reflecting on his own mortality and that he could die the next day. The speaker is probably a student of the professor that is telling his story of the killing ("Always be closing said our favorite professor before he let a gun go off in his mouth")


'Another Elegy' has a free form structure to the lyrics that could represent the unpredictability in life, the lyrics don't rhyme but the narrative still flows forward. The narrative flows in a linear pattern starting from when the speaker saw his professor die to when he watches a sunset and thinks or his mortality. The poem has enjambments ( the sentences end in the middle of the next verse) that could help assist with the flow of the poem.


The lyrics of the poem is colloquial. The mood is somber and the tone is reflective and thoughtful. For example in the poem it says, "Moving beneath him it's plates in their places, a dated disagreement" which is imagery that the speaker's existence is fragile and could dissapear. The quote "so I take a picture" refers to the speaker capturing the event of the moment in his head.

Musical Devices

There is an irregular pattern in the rhyme scheme and meter. There are sentences that end and begin in the middle of the verse, so in many verses the middle words end up being stressed.

"Let's fight it out, baby. You only have

Only so long left-a man turning

In his sleep-so I take a picture."

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Brown, Jericho"Another Elegy" n.d 5. March 2015.