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Edwin Arlington Robinson

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

Lisette and Eileen


“When he was here alive, Eileen,
There was a word you might have said;
So never mind what I have been,
Or anything,—for you are dead.

“And after this when I am there
Where he is, you’ll be dying still.
Your eyes are dead, and your black hair,—
The rest of you be what it will.

“’Twas all to save him? Never mind,
Eileen. You saved him. You are strong.
I’d hardly wonder if your kind
Paid everything, for you live long.

“You last, I mean. That’s what I mean.
I mean you last as long as lies.
You might have said that word, Eileen,—
And you might have your hair and eyes.

“And what you see might be Lisette,
Instead of this that has no name.
Your silence—I can feel it yet,
Alive and in me, like a flame.

“Where might I be with him to-day,
Could he have known before he heard?
But no—your silence had its way,
Without a weapon or a word.

“Because a word was never told,
I’m going as a worn toy goes.
And you are dead; and you’ll be old;
And I forgive you, I suppose.

“I’ll soon be changing as all do,
To something we have always been;
And you’ll be old.… He liked you, too,
I might have killed you then, Eileen.

“I think he liked as much of you
As had a reason to be seen,—
As much as God made black and blue.
He liked your hair and eyes, Eileen.”

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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