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Short poem

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)

The Mill

              1The miller's wife had waited long,
              2    The tea was cold, the fire was dead;
              3And there might yet be nothing wrong
              4    In how he went and what he said:
              5"There are no millers any more,"
              6    Was all that she had heard him say;
              7And he had lingered at the door
              8    So long that it seemed yesterday.

              9Sick with a fear that had no form
            10    She knew that she was there at last;
            11And in the mill there was a warm
            12    And mealy fragrance of the past.
            13What else there was would only seem
            14    To say again what he had meant;
            15And what was hanging from a beam
            16    Would not have heeded where she went.

            17And if she thought it followed her,
            18    She may have reasoned in the dark
            19That one way of the few there were
            20    Would hide her and would leave no mark:
            21Black water, smooth above the weir
            22    Like starry velvet in the night,
            23Though ruffled once, would soon appear
            24    The same as ever to the sight.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Collected Poems, with an introduction by John Drinkwater (London: Cecil Palmer, 1922): 460-61. PS 3535 O25A17 1922 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 2 July 1919
Publication date note: The New Republic (July 2, 1919).
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/3

Rhyme: ababcdcd

Other poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson