Alma Mater

He knocked, and I beheld him at the door--
A vision for the gods to verify.
"What battered ancient is this," thought I,
"And when, if ever, did we meet before?"
But ask him as I might, I got no more
For answer than a moaning and a cry:
Too late to parley, but in time to die,
He staggered, and lay ahapeless on the floor.

When had I known him? And what brought him here?
Love, warning, malediction, fear?
Surely I never thwarted such as he?--
Again, what soiled obscurity was this:
Out of what scum, and up from what abyss,
Had they arrived--these rags of memory.

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

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