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:

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"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

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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;

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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

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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.