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

II. The Children of the Night

26. Fleming Helphenstine

AT first I thought there was a superfine

Persuasion in his face; but the free glow

That filled it when he stopped and cried, “Hollo!”

Shone joyously, and so I let it shine.

He said his name was Fleming Helphenstine,

But be that as it may;—I only know

He talked of this and that and So-and-So,

And laughed and chaffed like any friend of mine.

But soon, with a queer, quick frown, he looked at me,

And I looked hard at him; and there we gazed

In a strained way that made us cringe and wince:

Then, with a wordless clogged apology

That sounded half confused and half amazed,

He dodged,—and I have never seen him since.