Treasure Island

Edwin Arlington Robinson

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

The Return of Morgan and Fingal

And there we were together again—
Together again, we three:
Morgan, Fingal, fiddle, and all,
They had come for the night with me.

The spirit of joy was in Morgan’s wrist,
There were songs in Fingal’s throat;
And secure outside, for the spray to drench,
Was a tossed and empty boat.

And there were the pipes, and there was the punch,
And somewhere were twelve years;
So it came, in the manner of things unsought,
That a quick knock vexed our ears.

The night wind hovered and shrieked and snarled,
And I heard Fingal swear;
Then I opened the door—but I found no more
Than a chalk-skinned woman there.

I looked, and at last, “What is it?” I said—
“What is it that we can do?”
But never a word could I get from her
But “You—you three—it is you!”

Now the sense of a crazy speech like that
Was more than a man could make;
So I said, “But we—we are what, we three?”
And I saw the creature shake.

“Be quick!” she cried, “for I left her dead—
And I was afraid to come;
But you, you three—God made it be—
Will ferry the dead girl home.

“Be quick! be quick!—but listen to that
Who is that makes it?—hark!”
But I heard no more than a knocking splash
And a wind that shook the dark.

“It is only the wind that blows,” I said,
“And the boat that rocks outside.”
And I watched her there, and I pitied her there—
“Be quick! be quick!” she cried.

She cried so loud that her voice went in
To find where my two friends were;
So Morgan came, and Fingal came,
And out we went with her.

’T was a lonely way for a man to take
And a fearsome way for three;
And over the water, and all day long,
They had come for the night with me.

But the girl was dead, as the woman had said,
And the best we could see to do
Was to lay her aboard. The north wind roared,
And into the night we flew.

Four of us living and one for a ghost,
Furrowing crest and swell,
Through the surge and the dark, for that faint far spark,
We ploughed with Azrael.

Three of us ruffled and one gone mad,
Crashing to south we went;
And three of us there were too spattered to care
What this late sailing meant.

So down we steered and along we tore
Through the flash of the midnight foam:
Silent enough to be ghosts on guard.
We ferried the dead girl home.

We ferried her down to the voiceless wharf,
And we carried her up to the light;
And we left the two to the father there,
Who counted the coals that night.

Then back we steered through the foam again,
But our thoughts were fast and few;
And all we did was to crowd the surge
And to measure the life we knew;—

Till at last we came where a dancing gleam
Skipped out to us, we three,—
And the dark wet mooring pointed home
Like a finger from the sea.

Then out we pushed the teetering skiff
And in we drew to the stairs;
And up we went, each man content
With a life that fed no cares.

Fingers were cold and feet were cold,
And the tide was cold and rough;
But the light was warm, and the room was warm,
And the world was good enough.

And there were the pipes, and there was the punch,
More shrewd than Satan’s tears:
Fingal had fashioned it, all by himself,
With a craft that comes of years.

And there we were together again—
Together again, we three:
Morgan, Fingal, fiddle, and all,
They were there for the night with me.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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