Eros Turannos by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Eros Turannos

Ogoola card no. 71

By Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)




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 failing 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 harbour 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 had 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.

I will post a comment on this poem that I found on a blog called Poetry Countdown. The comment below is taken completely from the blog Poetry Countdown.

The couple in the poem have stayed together for a long time despite many good reasons to separate. The speaker tells their story by alternating between their perspectives. The relationship is intricate, giving the old cliché “love/hate” a deep texture.

But the poem becomes truly great in its fifth stanza. After spinning a story worthy of a novel, the speaker steps back from the situation and admits that he really has no idea what goes on in relationships:

As if the story of a house
Were told, or ever could be.

People have a strong urge – once more, I suspect this is universal – to imagine the lives of others. Gossip can sometimes harm people, but the speaker of “Eros Turannos” doesn’t think that he is engaged in malicious gossip. “We do no harm,” we writers of unwritten novels, because living itself is so much more excruciating than anything other people can say about it.


I, Aya remember my parents talking about this theme about ”you can never really understand about other couples”. There are many couples that stay together forever even if everyone around them thinks that they are not good for each other. And because we could never really know what goes on between other couples, it is most wise not to judge other people’s lives.

This poem written by Edvin Arlington Robinson makes me think that Edvin was quite a wise man. Almost enlightened! So many of us mediocre people love to gossip, project and judge other people’s lives. But Edvin, no. He decides to leave it.

I think we can learn a lot from this poem.



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