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

VII. The Three Taverns

4. The Mill

THE MILLER’S wife had waited long,

The tea was cold, the fire was dead;

And there might yet be nothing wrong

In how he went and what he said:

“There are no millers any more,”

Was all that she heard him say;

And he had lingered at the door

So long that it seemed yesterday.

Sick with a fear that had no form

She knew that she was there at last;

And in the mill there was a warm

And mealy fragrance of the past.

What else there was would only seem

To say again what he had meant;

And what was hanging from a beam

Would not have heeded where she went.

And if she thought it followed her,

She may have reasoned in the dark

That one way of the few there were

Would hide her and would leave no mark:

Black water, smooth above the weir

Like starry velvet in the night,

Though ruffled once, would soon appear

The same as ever to the sight.