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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in Teaching English as a Second Language, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now writing a dissertation on the sonnets of E. A. Robinson at LMU, where he tutors composition alongside editing flyers on poetry and style. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor at Review of International American Studies. He also teaches at Münchner Volkshochschule and leads the Amerikahaus Literaturkreis.


Eros Turannos

by E. A. Robinson

She fears him, and will always ask 
   What fated her to choose him; 
She meets in his engaging mask                   
   All reasons to refuse him; 
But what she meets and what she fears 
Are less than are the downward years, 
Drawn slowly to the foamless weirs 
   Of age, were she to lose him. 

Between a blurred sagacity 
   That once had power to sound him, 
And Love, that will not let him be 
   The Judas that she found him, 
Her pride assuages her almost, 
As if it were alone the cost.— 
He sees that he will not be lost, 
   And waits and looks around him. 

A sense of ocean and old trees 
   Envelops and allures him; 
Tradition, touching all he sees 
   Beguiles and reassures him; 
And all her doubts of what he says 
Are dimmed with what she knows of days— 
Till even prejudice delays 
   And fades, and she secures him. 

The falling leaf inaugurates 
   The reign of her confusion; 
The pounding wave reverberates 
   The dirge of her illusion; 
And home, where passion lived and died, 
Becomes a place where she can hide, 
While all the town and harbor side 
   Vibrate with her seclusion. 

We tell you, tapping on our brows, 
   The story as it should be,— 
As if the story of a house 
   Were told, or ever could be; 
We’ll have no kindly veil between 
Her visions and those we have seen,— 
As if we guessed what hers have been, 
   Or what they are or would be. 

Meanwhile we do no harm; for they 
   That with a god have striven, 
Not hearing much of what we say, 
   Take what the god has given; 
Though like waves breaking it may be, 
Or like a changed familiar tree, 
Or like a stairway to the sea 
   Where down the blind are driven.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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