E.A. Robinson
The Mill (1919)


The miller's wife had waited long,


The tea was cold, the fire was dead;


And there might yet be nothing wrong


In how he went and what he said:


"There are no millers any more,"


Was all that she had heard him say;


And he had lingered at the door


So long that it seemed yesterday.




Sick with a fear that had no form


She knew that she was there at last;


And in the mill there was a warm


And mealy fragrance of the past.


What else there was would only seem


To say again what he had meant;


And what was hanging from a beam


Would not have heeded where she went.




And if she thought it followed her,


She may have reasoned in the dark


That one way of the few there were


Would hide her and would leave no mark:


Black water, smooth above the weir


Like starry velvet in the night,


Though ruffled once, would soon appear


The same as ever to the sight.