Poetry Month: The Mill (Robinson)

The Mill

The miller’s wife had waited long,
   The tea was cold, the fire was dead;
And there might yet be nothing wrong
   In how he went and what he said:
“There are no millers any more,”
   Was all that she had heard him say;
And he had lingered at the door
   So long that it seemed yesterday.

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

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

—Edwin Arlington Robinson, in Twentieth Century American Poetry


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