Verse > Edwin A. Robinson > Collected Poems > V. The Town Down the River > 6. Clavering
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Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935).  Collected Poems. 1921.
  
V. The Town Down the River
6. Clavering
  
I SAY no more for Clavering
  Than I should say of him who fails
To bring his wounded vessel home
  When reft of rudder and of sails;
 
I say no more than I should say        5
  Of any other one who sees
Too far for guidance of to-day,
  Too near for the eternities.
 
I think of him as I should think
  Of one who for scant wages played,       10
And faintly, a flawed instrument
  That fell while it was being made;
 
I think of him as one who fared,
  Unfaltering and undeceived,
Amid mirages of renown       15
  And urgings of the unachieved;
 
I think of him as one who gave
  To Lingard leave to be amused,
And listened with a patient grace
  That we, the wise ones, had refused;       20
 
I think of metres that he wrote
  For Cubit, the ophidian guest:
“What Lilith, or Dark Lady”… Well,
  Time swallows Cubit with the rest.
 
I think of last words that he said       25
  One midnight over Calverly:
“Good-by—good man.” He was not good;
  So Clavering was wrong, you see.
 
I wonder what had come to pass
  Could he have borrowed for a spell       30
The fiery-frantic indolence
  That made a ghost of Leffingwell;
 
I wonder if he pitied us
  Who cautioned him till he was gray
To build his house with ours on earth       35
  And have an end of yesterday;
 
I wonder what it was we saw
  To make us think that we were strong;
I wonder if he saw too much,
  Or if he looked one way too long.       40
 
But when were thoughts or wonderings
  To ferret out the man within?
Why prate of what he seemed to be,
  And all that he might not have been?
 
He clung to phantoms and to friends,       45
  And never came to anything.
He left a wreath on Cubit’s grave.
  I say no more for Clavering.

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