Verse > Edwin A. Robinson > Collected Poems > I. The Man Against the Sky > 7. Hillcrest
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Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935).  Collected Poems. 1921.
  
I. The Man Against the Sky
7. 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        5
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,—       10
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       15
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,—       20
 
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,       25
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       30
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,       35
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;       40
 
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       45
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       50
On airy looms that have a sound
No louder now than falling leaves.

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