September 6, 2014

Felix Stefanile

EDWIN ARLINGTON ROBINSON (1869-1935)

Joy shivers in the corner where she sits,
And Conscience always has the rocking-chair.
—from “New England” by Edwin Arlington Robinson

I call him Ponder Man, sad and bemused,
not only by what happens, but by what
may happen to us next, likely as not
the Aftermath that cannot be refused.
For Robinson the past stays unexcused:
there’s always Eben Flood who drinks a lot,
the Richard Cory Richard Cory shot,
and sweet Aunt Imogen, whom Love misused.

He once composed a chilling villanelle
about an abandoned house set on a hill,
whose stolid silence on that weed-choked crest
dispelled all thought of either host or guest,
except for Aftermath, who ponders there,
in the buckled parlor, in the broken rocking-chair.

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003
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