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Unformatted text preview: The Three Taverns A Book of Poems By Edwin Arlington Robinson woman -- being yourself. You say to me my truth is past all drowning, And safe with you for ever? You know all that? How do you know all that, and who has told you? You know so much that I'm an atom frightened Because you know so little. And what is this? You know the luxury there is in haunting The blasted thoroughfares of disillusion -- If that's your name for them -- with only ghosts For company? You know that when a woman Is blessed, or cursed, with a divine impatience (Another name of yours for a bad temper) She must have one at hand on whom to wreak it (That's what you mean, whatever the turn you give it), Sure of a kindred sympathy, and thereby Effect a mutual calm? You know that wisdom, Given in vain to make a food for those Who are without it, will be seen at last, And even at last only by those who gave it, As one or more of the forgotten crumbs That others leave? You know that men's applause And women's envy savor so much of dust That I go hungry, having at home no fare But the same changeless bread that I may swallow Only with tears and prayers? Who told you that? You know that if I read, and read alone, Too many books that no men yet have written, I may go blind, or worse? You know yourself, Of all insistent and insidious creatures, To be the one to save me, and to guard For me their flaming language? And you know That if I give much headway to the whim That's in me never to be quite sure that even Through all those years of storm and fire I waited For this one rainy day, I may go on, And on, and on alone, through smoke and ashes, To a cold end? You know so dismal much As that about me? . . . Well, I believe you do. 56 The Three Taverns A Book of Poems By Edwin Arlington Robinson Nimmo
Since you remember Nimmo, and arrive At such a false and florid and far drawn Confusion of odd nonsense, I connive No longer, though I may have led you on. So much is told and heard and told again, So many with his legend are engrossed, That I, more sorry now than I was then, May live on to be sorry for his ghost. You knew him, and you must have known his eyes, -- How deep they were, and what a velvet light Came out of them when anger or surprise, Or laughter, or Francesca, made them bright. No, you will not forget such eyes, I think, -- And you say nothing of them. Very well. I wonder if all history's worth a wink, Sometimes, or if my tale be one to tell. For they began to lose their velvet light; Their fire grew dead without and small within; And many of you deplored the needless fight That somewhere in the dark there must have been. All fights are needless, when they're not our own, But Nimmo and Francesca never fought. Remember that; and when you are alone, Remember me -- and think what I have thought. Now, mind you, I say nothing of what was, Or never was, or could or could not be: Bring not suspicion's candle to the glass That mirrors a friend's face to memory. Of what you see, see all, -- but see no mo...
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