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

VII. The Three Taverns

3. Neighbors

AS often as we thought of her,

We thought of a gray life

That made a quaint economist

Of a wolf-haunted wife;

We made the best of all she bore

That was not ours to bear,

And honored her for wearing things

That were not things to wear.

There was a distance in her look

That made us look again;

And if she smiled, we might believe

That we had looked in vain.

Rarely she came inside our doors,

And had not long to stay;

And when she left, it seemed somehow

That she was far away.

At last, when we had all forgot

That all is here to change,

A shadow on the commonplace

Was for a moment strange.

Yet there was nothing for surprise,

Nor much that need be told:

Love, with his gift of pain, had given

More than one heart could hold.