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Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935). Collected Poems. 1921.

VII. The Three Taverns

13. Archibald’s Example

OLD ARCHIBALD, in his eternal chair,

Where trespassers, whatever their degree,

Were soon frowned out again, was looking off

Across the clover when he said to me:

“My green hill yonder, where the sun goes down

Without a scratch, was once inhabited

By trees that injured him—an evil trash

That made a cage, and held him while he bled.

“Gone fifty years, I see them as they were

Before they fell. They were a crooked lot

To spoil my sunset, and I saw no time

In fifty years for crooked things to rot.

“Trees, yes; but not a service or a joy

To God or man, for they were thieves of light.

So down they came. Nature and I looked on,

And we were glad when they were out of sight.

“Trees are like men, sometimes; and that being so,

So much for that.” He twinkled in his chair,

And looked across the clover to the place

That he remembered when the trees were there.