cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

Poet Appreciation #2: Edwin Arlington Robinson


English: Portrait of Edwin Arlington Robinson

Portrait of Edwin Arlington Robinson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I vaguely recall reading one or two of Edwin Arlington Robinson’s poetry as I dug through my AP selections. Needless to say, he is not a poet that I am familiar with; however, this gem dropped in my box as a my daily poem offering and it immediately reverberated within me: don’t we all wonder about that abandoned house?

Robinson took his poetry seriously, despite being unable to make a living from it, he persevered. Twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize he still remains relatively unknown, at least I can’t place him in the category of tip-of-the-tongue knowns, like Frost, Dickinson, and Whitman.  Have you heard of him or am I showing my poetry illiteracy once again?

The House on the Hill
by Edwin Arlington Robinson

They are all gone away,      
The House is shut and still,    
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray      
The winds blow bleak and shrill:    
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one to-day      
To speak them good or ill:    
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray      
Around that sunken sill?    
They are all gone away.

And our poor fancy-play      
For them is wasted skill:    
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay      
In the House on the Hill:    
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

For a broader perspective of the poem follow this link

I personally am always curious about abandoned houses, or those that seem empty. Yet, there  isn’t a true emptiness, is there as long as houses remain standing, so do the memories. I like how Robinson intimates that though there may be memories, without the people inhabiting the house, there can be no conversations. An empty house is a voiceless house and a house without words is indeed empty.

English: abandoned house

abandoned house (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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3 thoughts on “Poet Appreciation #2: Edwin Arlington Robinson

  1. I read a couple of his poems in college and remember liking them—thanks for reminding me since I’d forgot his name! I like this one too….the meter is interesting and stilted, much like how the house is stopped in time.

  2. This form suits this subject very nicely. The refrains highlight the loss and absence. Thank you for sharing this poem.

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