Where is my boy, my boy In what far part of the world? Then, when some came in To part them, others stayed them, and the fight Spread among dozens; many valiant souls Went down from clubs and bricks. And then, in a second, I spied the rattler-- The shutters wide in his yellow eyes, The head of him arched, sunk back in the rings of him, A circle of filth, the color of ashes, Or oak leaves bleached under layers of leaves. 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. Sounds like the sort of thing he'd do. Here was I, a carpenter, mired in a bog of life Into which I walked, thinking it was a meadow, With a slattern for a wife, and poor Minerva, my daughter, Whom you tormented and drove to death. Continent, promiscuous, changeable, treacherous, vain, Proud, with the pride that makes struggle a thing for laughter; With heart cored out by the worm of theatric despair.
The wind's in the corn; you rub your hands For beeves hereafter ready for market; Or else you hear the rustle of skirts Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove. 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. Their spirits watched my ecstasy With wide looks of starry unconcern. Or for suppressing the facts about the bank, When it was rotten and ready to break? Contents: Armstrong, Hannah Arnett, Harold Atherton, Lucius Ballard, John Barker, Amanda Barrett, Pauline Bartlett, Ezra Bateson, Marie Beatty, Tom Beethoven, Isaiah Bennett, Hon. Where are Uncle Isaac and Aunt Emily, And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton, And Major Walker who had talked With venerable men of the revolution? After that, all is blackness. But then after we were married I thought She might prove her mortality and let me out, Or she might divorce me. But few die, none resign.
Of course I was one of the fellows they caught. But, you see, though I had the mansion house And traveling passes and local distinction, I could hear the whispers, whispers, whispers, Wherever I went, and my daughters grew up With a look as if some one were about to strike them; And they married madly, helter-skelter, Just to get out and have a change. Triolets, villanelles, rondels, rondeaus, Ballades by the score with the same old thought: The snows and the roses of yesterday are vanished; And what is love but a rose that fades? 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. In truth, I can so believe. Williams, could not fill Her orders for new hats, and every seamstress Plied busy needles making gowns; old trunks And chests were opened for their store of laces And rings and trinkets were brought out of hiding And all the youths fastidious grew of dress; Notes passed, and many a fair one's door at eve Knew a bouquet, and strolling lovers thronged About the hills that overlooked the river. When the beloved one withdraws itself from your soul Then you have lost your soul. But there was my father with his sorrows, Sitting under the cedar tree, A picture that sank into my heart at last Bringing infinite repose.
Harry killed himself after a debauch, Susan was divorced-- I sat under my cedar tree. Only the chemist can tell, and not always the chemist, What will result from compounding Fluids or solids. I pretended to believe it, though I knew very well What he was doing, and that he met The milliner, Mrs. She certianly didn't honor the concept of marriage, and there's no mention made of a Mr. As when the woodman fells Some giant oak upon a summer's day And all the songsters of the forest shrill, And one great hawk that has his nestling young Amid the topmost branches croaks, as crash The leafy branches through the tangled boughs Of brother oaks, so fell the hog--eyed one Amid the lamentations of the friends Of A. If with some one with whom you have known passion And the glow of youthful love, You also, after years of life Together, feel the sinking of the fire And thus fade away together, Gradually, faintly, delicately, As it were in each other's arms, Passing from the familiar room-- That is a power of unison between souls Like love itself! Surely the concord that ruled my spirit is proof Of an Ear that tuned me, able to tune me over And use me again if I am worthy to use.
I was good-hearted, easy Doctor Meyers. How I wish Duse could stand amid the pathos Of these quiet fields And read these words. My soul flew up ten thousand miles And only the moon looked a little bigger. No man of this degenerate day could lift The boulders which he threw, and when he spoke The windows rattled, and beneath his brows Thatched like a shed with bristling hair of black, His small eyes glistened like a maddened boar. He died one night right in my arms, you know. But them to flout She gave a dance to viols and to flutes, Brought from Peoria, and many youths, But lately made regenerate through the prayers Of zealous preachers and of earnest souls, Danced merrily, and sought her in the dance, Who wore a dress so low of neck that eyes Down straying might survey the snowy swale 'Till it was lost in whiteness. And the first place I worked was at Thomas Greene's.
But they, my brothers, were eaten up In the fury of the flesh, which I had not, Made pulp in the activity of the senses, which I had not, Hardened by the growth of the lusts, which I had not, Though making names and riches for themselves. The inner kernel is freedom, It is light, purity-- I can no more, Find the goal or lose it, according to your vision. He vexed my life till I went back home And lived like an old maid till I died, Keeping house for father. I was now amid multitudes who were wrangling. For years I was his mistress--no one knew.
But still I chiseled whatever they paid me to chisel And made myself party to the false chronicles Of the stones, Even as the historian does who writes Without knowing the truth, Or because he is influenced to hide it. A shudder of ecstasy, a shudder of fear Ran through me. It is all forgotten, save by us, the memories, Who are forgotten by the world. But you do not ask for water. We didn't have class today and our test has been postponed until the 4th, giving me more time to study Economics. If I saw a soul that was strong I wounded its pride and devoured its strength.
I married Delia and got the money-- A joke on you, Spoon River? But neither the Supreme Court nor my wife Believed a word she said. She started the talk of the mortgaged farm, And I killed her. Whereupon Brutus sprang upon me, And killed me. So she hid in the house and sent out rumors, As if it were going to happen to her. I'll crack your boar's head with a piece of brick! It's from The Spoon River Anthology, and the character is Mrs. The Spoon River Anthology was published in 1915. As a boy, Theodore, you sat for long hours On the shore of the turbid Spoon With deep-set eye staring at the door of the crawfish's burrow, Waiting for him to appear, pushing ahead, First his waving antennae, like straws of hay, And soon his body, colored like soap-stone, Gemmed with eyes of jet.