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

III. Captain Craig, Etc.

13. The Corridor

IT may have been the pride in me for aught

I know, or just a patronizing whim;

But call it freak or fancy, or what not,

I cannot hide that hungry face of him.

I keep a scant half-dozen words he said,

And every now and then I lose his name;

He may be living or he may be dead,

But I must have him with me all the same.

I knew it, and I knew it all along,—

And felt it once or twice, or thought I did;

But only as a glad man feels a song

That sounds around a stranger’s coffin lid.

I knew it, and he knew it, I believe,

But silence held us alien to the end;

And I have now no magic to retrieve

That year, to stop that hunger for a friend.