The Hill Wife

by Robert Frost

LONELINESS (Her Word) One ought not to have to care So much as you and I Care when the birds come round the house To seem to say good-bye; Or care so much when they come back With whatever it is they sing; The truth being we are as much Too glad for the one thing As we are too sad for the other here -- With birds that fill their breasts But with each other and themselves And their built or driven nests. HOUSE FEAR Always -- I tell you this they learned-- Always at night when they returned To the lonely house from far away To lamps unlighted and fire gone gray, They learned to rattle the lock and key To give whatever might chance to be Warning and time to be off in flight: And preferring the out- to the in-door night, They. learned to leave the house-door wide Until they had lit the lamp inside. THE SMILE (Her Word) I didn't like the way he went away. That smile! It never came of being gay. Still he smiled- did you see him?- I was sure! Perhaps because we gave him only bread And the wretch knew from that that we were poor. Perhaps because he let us give instead Of seizing from us as he might have seized. Perhaps he mocked at us for being wed, Or being very young (and he was pleased To have a vision of us old and dead). I wonder how far down the road he's got. He's watching from the woods as like as not. THE OFT-REPEATED DREAM She had no saying dark enough For the dark pine that kept Forever trying the window-latch Of the room where they slept. The tireless but ineffectual hands That with every futile pass Made the great tree seem as a little bird Before the mystery of glass! It never had been inside the room, And only one of the two Was afraid in an oft-repeated dream Of what the tree might do. THE IMPULSE It was too lonely for her there, And too wild, And since there were but two of them, And no child, And work was little in the house, She was free, And followed where he furrowed field, Or felled tree. She rested on a log and tossed The fresh chips, With a song only to herself On her lips. And once she went to break a bough Of black alder. She strayed so far she scarcely heard. When he called her-- And didn't answer -- didn't speak -- Or return. She stood, and then she ran and hid In the fern. He never found her, though he looked Everywhere, And he asked at her mother's house Was she there. Sudden and swift and light as that The ties gave, And he learned of finalities Besides the grave.