Berate me who will--I am content. In death, therefore, I am avenged. So I knew I was marked for an early grave. Take note, ye prudent and pious souls, Of the cross--currents in life Which bring honor to the dead, who lived in shame How does it happen, tell me, That I who was most erudite of lawyers, Who knew Blackstone and Coke Almost by heart, who made the greatest speech The court-house ever heard, and wrote A brief that won the praise of Justice Breese How does it happen, tell me, That I lie here unmarked, forgotten, While Chase Henry, the town drunkard, Has a marble block, topped by an urn Wherein Nature, in a mood ironical, Has sown a flowering weed? The fragment was found among his papers by William Marion Reedy and was for the first time published in Reedy's Mirror of December 18th, 1914. Then Daniel, the radical, had me for years. Sibley Give any part of their salary, earned by keeping still, Or speaking out as the leaders wished them to do, To the building of the water works? But as it was burned as well, they mistook me For John Allen who was sent to the Hebrew Cemetery At Chicago, And John for me, so I lie here. And I but a shell of myself.
I prayed to live until I could ask your forgiveness-- And then your tears, your broken words of comfort! I, lover of Nature, beloved for my love of her, Held such converse afar with the great Who knew her better than I. But John fled the country in disgrace. In youth my mind was just a mirror In a rapidly flying car, Which catches and loses bits of the landscape. Later they locked me up as insane Where I was beaten to death by a Catholic guard. Where is Old Fiddler Jones Who played with life all his ninety years, Braving the sleet with bared breast, Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin, Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven? Note the cedar tree on the lawn! But Solomon won the nomination; And then I faced about, And rallied my followers to his standard, And made him victor, made him King Of the Golden Mountain with the door Which closed on my heels just as I entered, Flattered by Solomon's invitation, To be the County--board's secretary. Duval For the murder of Zora Clemens, And I sat in the court two weeks Listening to every witness. There is a mighty shade here who sings Of one named Beatrice; And I see now that the force that made him great Drove me to the dregs of life.
Look, Samuel, where the roots have struck rock, And can no further spread. My secret: Under a mound that you shall never find. That was my way of going into bankruptcy. That was my way of going into bankruptcy. He vexed my life till I went back home And lived like an old maid till I died, Keeping house for father. Simmons, Walter Sissman, Dillard Slack, Margaret Fuller Smith, Louise Somers, Jonathan Swift Somers, Judge Sparks, Emily Spooniad, The Standard, W.
And when I got home that night, After listening to the story of the buggy ride, And the finding of Zora in the ditch, The first thing I saw, right there by the steps, Where the boys had hacked for angle worms, Was the hatchet! I read this book, one of the original bestselling self-help books back when this genre first hit the ground. Do the boys and girls still go to Siever's For cider, after school, in late September? In all this place of silence There are no kindred spirits. Wearing the coat of indifference to hide the shame of defeat; I, child of the abolitionist idealism-- A sort of Brand in a birth of half-and-half. And we never had any peace with our treasure. But I tortured it, I poisoned it I blinded its eyes, and it became hatred-- Deadly ivy instead of clematis. I, full of spirit, audacity, courage Thrown into life here in Spoon River, With its dominant forces drawn from New England, Republicans, Calvinists, merchants, bankers, Hating me, yet fearing my arm.
For I was seventy, she was thirty--five, And I wore myself to a shadow trying to husband Jenny, rosy Jenny full of the ardor of life. Yet the little house was a manor hall Set in a lawn, and by the lawn was the sea. My husband had nothing to do With the fall of the bank--he was only cashier. And what could I do, all covered over And weighted down with western soil Except aspire, and pray for another Birth in the world, with all of Spoon River Rooted out of my soul? You think your eye sweeps about a wide horizon, perhaps, In truth you are only looking around the interior of your tub. I could have been no worse off If I had tried to get them to drop Jesus for Confucius. They say the ashes of my namesake Were scattered near the pyramid of Caius Cestius Somewhere near Rome. Or shall young romance roam These hills about the river, flowering now To April's tears, or shall they sit at home, Or play croquet where Thomas Rhodes may see, I ask you? And I pity you still at the loom of life, You who are singing to the shuttle And lovingly watching the work of your hands, If you reach the day of hate, of terrible truth.
Sweet it was to see the crowds about the lawns on the day of my funeral, And hear them murmur their love and sorrow. You would not believe that I had been to school And read some books. Why, there was the time I earned the money With which to go away to school, And my father suddenly needed help And I had to give him all of it. All through the soul of William Jones Who showed me a letter of John Muir. When I felt the bullet enter my heart I wished I had staid at home and gone to jail For stealing the hogs of Curl Trenary, Instead of running away and joining the army.
I told her that while taking a row in a boat I had been captured near Van Buren Street By pirates on Lake Michigan, And kept in chains, so I could not write her. But later your vision watched for men and women Hiding in burrows of fate amid great cities, Looking for the souls of them to come out, So that you could see How they lived, and for what, And why they kept crawling so busily Along the sandy way where water fails As the summer wanes. For someone left a blow--fire going, And something sucked the flame in the tank. It is all forgotten, save by us, the memories, Who are forgotten by the world. And they cried to me for life, life, life. Enjoy this first trip to Spoon River. And the bargain was made.
No one remembers your exquisite face, Your lyric voice! The other, the lake-front in Chicago, Where the railroad keeps a switching yard, With whistling engines and crunching wheels And smoke and soot thrown over the city, And the crash of cars along the boulevard,-- A blot like a hog-pen on the harbor Of a great metropolis, foul as a sty. You are alive, I am dead. The pyramid of my life was nought but a dune, Barren and formless, spoiled at last by the storm. It's the way the people regard the theft of the apple That makes the boy what he is. These are driving him to the place where I lie.