Treasure Island

Edwin Arlington Robinson

(22 December 1869 – 6 April 1935 / Maine / United States)

Eros Turannos


She fears him, and will always ask
What fated her to choose him;
She meets in his engaging mask
All reason to refuse him.
But what she meets and what she fears
Are less than are the downward years,
Drawn slowly to the foamless weirs
Of age, were she to lose him.

Between a blurred sagacity
That once had power to sound him,
And Love, that will not let him be
The Judas that she found him,
Her pride assuages her almost
As if it were alone the cost--
He sees that he will not be lost,
And waits, and looks around him.

A sense of ocean and old trees
Envelops and allures him;
Tradition, touching all he sees,
Beguiles and reassures him.
And all her doubts of what he says
Are dimmed by what she knows of days,
Till even Prejudice delays
And fades, and she secures him.

The falling leaf inaugurates
The reign of her confusion;
The pounding wave reverberates
The dirge of her illusion.
And Home, where passion lived and died,
Becomes a place where she can hide,
While all the town and harbor side
Vibrate with her seclusion.

We tell you, tapping on our brows,
The story as it should be,
As if the story of a house
Were told, or ever could be.
We'll have no kindly veil between
Her visions and those we have seen--
As if we guessed what hers have been,
Or what they are or would be.

Meanwhile we do no harm, for they
That with a god have striven,
Not hearing much of what we say,
Take what the god has given.
Though like waves breaking it may be,
Or like a changed familiar tree,
Or like a stairway to the sea,
Where down the blind are driven.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Read poems about / on: prejudice, passion, pride, ocean, power, house, tree, lost, god, home, sea, alone, fear, change

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  • Singer Joy (12/7/2009 8:57:00 AM)

    Robinson's comments on the quiet acceptance of male dominance of early 20th century America are brilliantly worded: 'While all the town and harborside / Vibrate with her seclusion'. It's surprising how the stanza 'We tell you, tapping on our brows...' can still be said to be relevant in today's society. (Report) Reply

  • Mira Mcewan (6/5/2005 7:02:00 PM)

    This poem needs to be read aloud. The musical rhythm is exquisite. It's amazing that a man-from so long ago no less-could capture the feelings of a woman in a bad realtionship so succintly. (Report) Reply

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