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The Three Taverns

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935). Collected Poems. 1921.

VII. The Three Taverns
3. Neighbors

AS often as we thought of her,
We thought of a gray life
That made a quaint economist
Of a wolf-haunted wife;
We made the best of all she bore 5
That was not ours to bear,
And honored her for wearing things
That were not things to wear.

There was a distance in her look
That made us look again; 10
And if she smiled, we might believe
That we had looked in vain.
Rarely she came inside our doors,
And had not long to stay;
And when she left, it seemed somehow 15
That she was far away.

At last, when we had all forgot
That all is here to change,
A shadow on the commonplace
Was for a moment strange. 20
Yet there was nothing for surprise,
Nor much that need be told:
Love, with his gift of pain, had given
More than one heart could hold.