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Edwin Arlington Robinson - Hillcrest

(To Mrs. Edward MacDowell)


No sound of any storm that shakes 
Old island walls with older seas 
Comes here where now September makes 
An island in a sea of trees. 

Between the sunlight and the shade
A man may learn till he forgets 
The roaring of a world remade, 
And all his ruins and regrets; 

And if he still remembers here 
Poor fights he may have won or lost,—
If he be ridden with the fear 
Of what some other fight may cost,— 

If, eager to confuse too soon, 
What he has known with what may be, 
He reads a planet out of tune
For cause of his jarred harmony,— 

If here he venture to unroll 
His index of adagios, 
And he be given to console 
Humanity with what he knows,—

He may by contemplation learn 
A little more than what he knew, 
And even see great oaks return 
To acorns out of which they grew. 

He may, if he but listen well,
Through twilight and the silence here, 
Be told what there are none may tell 
To vanity’s impatient ear; 

And he may never dare again 
Say what awaits him, or be sure
What sunlit labyrinth of pain 
He may not enter and endure. 

Who knows to-day from yesterday 
May learn to count no thing too strange: 
Love builds of what Time takes away,
Till Death itself is less than Change. 

Who sees enough in his duress 
May go as far as dreams have gone; 
Who sees a little may do less 
Than many who are blind have done;

Who sees unchastened here the soul 
Triumphant has no other sight 
Than has a child who sees the whole 
World radiant with his own delight. 

Far journeys and hard wandering
Await him in whose crude surmise 
Peace, like a mask, hides everything 
That is and has been from his eyes; 

And all his wisdom is unfound, 
Or like a web that error weaves
On airy looms that have a sound 
No louder now than falling leaves. 

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Hillcrest - Comments and Information

Poet: Edwin Arlington Robinson
Poem: Hillcrest
Poem of the Day: Feb 15 2011
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