Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Why He Was There

  • Much as he left it when he went from us
  • Here was the room again where he had been
  • So long that something of him should be seen,
  • Or felt — and so it was. Incredulous,
  • I turned about, loath to be greeted thus,
  • And there he was in his old chair, serene
  • As ever, and as laconic and as lean
  • As when he lived, and as cadaverous.
  • Calm as he was of old when we were young,
  • He sat there gazing at the pallid flame
  • Before him. “And how far will this go on?”
  • I thought. He felt the failure of my tongue,
  • And smiled: “I was not here until you came;
  • And I shall not be here when you are gone.”

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935) grew up in Gardiner, Maine. One of his two brothers died of a drug overdose and the other married the young woman Edwin was in love with. That brother died as an impoverished alcoholic, estranged from his family. Edwin spent two years at Harvard and then moved to New York. Among his admirers as his reputation grew was president Theodore Roosevelt, who secured a position for him at the New York Customs House. Well loved during his lifetime, Robinson’s reputation has not diminished and he is often considered the first of the great modernist poets of America: despite the fact that he tended to write in traditional forms, his diction and sensibility are clearly that of our own contemporary language and time. This poem is a traditional Italian sonnet but its diction and phrasing are altogether contemporary and altogether masterful. Robinson, who won the Pulitzer Prize three times in the 1920s, never married.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

North River Farms foes face lawsuit heat

If activists take Measure L off ballot, they would no longer face mounting legal fees
Next Article

Space Truckin’

Ace Frehley, Travis Barker, Tolan Shaw, Andy Robinson, Thousand Below
  • Much as he left it when he went from us
  • Here was the room again where he had been
  • So long that something of him should be seen,
  • Or felt — and so it was. Incredulous,
  • I turned about, loath to be greeted thus,
  • And there he was in his old chair, serene
  • As ever, and as laconic and as lean
  • As when he lived, and as cadaverous.
  • Calm as he was of old when we were young,
  • He sat there gazing at the pallid flame
  • Before him. “And how far will this go on?”
  • I thought. He felt the failure of my tongue,
  • And smiled: “I was not here until you came;
  • And I shall not be here when you are gone.”

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935) grew up in Gardiner, Maine. One of his two brothers died of a drug overdose and the other married the young woman Edwin was in love with. That brother died as an impoverished alcoholic, estranged from his family. Edwin spent two years at Harvard and then moved to New York. Among his admirers as his reputation grew was president Theodore Roosevelt, who secured a position for him at the New York Customs House. Well loved during his lifetime, Robinson’s reputation has not diminished and he is often considered the first of the great modernist poets of America: despite the fact that he tended to write in traditional forms, his diction and sensibility are clearly that of our own contemporary language and time. This poem is a traditional Italian sonnet but its diction and phrasing are altogether contemporary and altogether masterful. Robinson, who won the Pulitzer Prize three times in the 1920s, never married.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

North River Farms foes face lawsuit heat

If activists take Measure L off ballot, they would no longer face mounting legal fees
Next Article

Dex Romweber Livestream from the Cave, Author Livestream: Clare Mackintosh

Events August 16-August 18, 2020
Comments
1

Thanks for these interludes of poetry. They express so much that otherwise would be unrecognized. And even those of us who appreciate poetry often don't read as much as we could.

Oct. 30, 2014

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close