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Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)


    OBSERVANT of the way she told
        So much of what was true,
    No vanity could long withhold
        Regard that was her due:
    She spared him the familiar guile,
        So easily achieved,
    That only made a man to smile
        And left him undeceived.

    Aware that all imagining
        Of more than what she meant
    Would urge an end of everything,
        He stayed; and when he went,
    They parted with a merry word
        That was to him as light
    As any that was ever heard
        Upon a starry night.

    She smiled a little, knowing well
        That he would not remark
    The ruins of a day that fell
        Around her in the dark:
    He saw no ruins anywhere,
        Nor fancied there were scars
    On anyone who lingered there,
        Alone below the stars.


Tact first appeared in The Yale Review. Robinson was awarded the Pulizer Prize for Poetry in 1922, 1925, and 1928.

This poem can be found in:

  • Robinson, Edwin Arlington. The Three Taverns New York: The Macmillan Company, 1922.