The Mill



Robinson was born in 1869, at Head Tide in Maine and until 1897 lived at the family home in Gardiner, Maine, aside from several years as a student at Harvard University. For the rest of his life he moved in New York and devoted his life to writing poetry. Robinson earned a small living first as a subway inspector and then in the city's customs office. His Collected Poems in 1922 received the Pulitzer Prize and earned him a degree as Doctor of Literature at Yale University. Although best known for his short poems, long poems such as Captain Craig (1902), Lancelot (1920), The Man Who Died Twice (1924), and Tristram (1927) earned him acclaim from his peers. The last two of these won Pulitzer Prizes in 1925 and 1927, when he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Arts and Letters. Robinson never married but enjoyed the company of many friends. He died in New York on April 6, 1935.

Edwin Arlington


The Mill

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.

Edwin Arlington Robinson


About this poem: "There are no millers any more" sounds like it could be a bit of social commentary, an attribution of the miller's suicide to the loss of his job when economic conditions overwhelmed him. In three short verses, the scene is set, builds up to the discovery of a suicide, and follows with another, the miller's wife.
: molinero
dead: [metaphore] extinguished: apagado
there are no millers anymore: ya no quedan molineros
lingered: demorado, dejado pasar el tiempo
mealy: harinoso, farinoso
hanging from a beam: colgando de una viga del techo
heeded: atendido, considerado
: razonado, pensado, analizado
hide her: ocultarla
and would leave no mark: sin dejar rastros
weir: presa, vertedero
starry velvet: rutilante terciopelo
though ruffled once: aunque alguna vez fruncido


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