Verse > Edwin A. Robinson > Collected Poems > V. The Town Down the River > 22. Alma Mater
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Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935).  Collected Poems. 1921.
  
V. The Town Down the River
22. Alma Mater
  
HE knocked, and I beheld him at the door—
A vision for the gods to verify.
“What battered ancientry is this,” thought I,
“And when, if ever, did we meet before?”
But ask him as I might, I got no more        5
For answer than a moaning and a cry:
Too late to parley, but in time to die,
He staggered, and lay shapeless on the floor.
 
When had I known him? And what brought him here?
Love, warning, malediction, hunger, fear?       10
Surely I never thwarted such as he?—
Again, what soiled obscurity was this:
Out of what scum, and up from what abyss,
Had they arrived—these rags of memory?

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