Spoon River Anthology Poem Text

Spoon River Anthology Poem Text

The Hill

Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley,

The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown,

the boozer, the fighter?

All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

One passed in a fever,

One was burned in a mine,

One was killed in a brawl,

One died in a jail,

One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife—

All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie and Edith,

The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud,

the happy one?—

All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

One died in shameful child-birth,

One of a thwarted love,

One at the hands of a brute in a brothel,

One of a broken pride, in the search for heart's desire,

One after life in far-away London and Paris

Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate

and Mag—

All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

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?—

All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

They brought them dead sons from the war,

And daughters whom life had crushed,

And their children fatherless, crying—

All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

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?

Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago,

Of the horse-races of long ago at Clary's Grove,

Of what Abe Lincoln said

One time at Springfield.

Minerva Jones

I am Minerva, the village poetess,

Hooted at, jeered at by the Yahoos of the street

For my heavy body, cock-eye, and rolling walk,

And all the more when "Butch" Weldy

Captured me after a brutal hunt.

He left me to my fate with Doctor Meyers;

And I sank into death, growing numb from the feet up,

Like one stepping deeper and deeper into a stream of ice.

Will some one go to the village newspaper,

And gather into a book the verses I wrote?—

I thirsted so for love!

I hungered so for life!

Sarah Brown

Maurice, weep not, I am not here under this pine tree.

The balmy air of spring whispers through the sweet grass,

The stars sparkle, the whippoorwill calls,

But thou grievest, while my soul lies rapturous

In the blest Nirvana of eternal light!

Go to the good heart that is my husband,

Who broods upon what he calls our guilty love:—

Tell him that my love for you, no less than my love for him,

Wrought out my destiny—that through the flesh

I won spirit, and through spirit, peace.

There is no marriage in heaven,

But there is love.

Herbert Marshall

All your sorrow, Louise, and hatred of me

Sprang from your delusion that it was wantonness

Of spirit and contempt of your soul's rights

Which made me turn to Annabelle and forsake you.

You really grew to hate me for love of me,

Because I was your soul's happiness,

Formed and tempered

To solve your life for you, and would not.

But you were my misery. If you had been

My happiness would I not have clung to you?

This is life's sorrow:

That one can be happy only where two are;

And that our hearts are drawn to stars

Which want us not.

Mrs. Charles Bliss

Reverend Wiley advised me not to divorce him

For the sake of the children,

And Judge Somers advised him the same.

So we stuck to the end of the path.

But two of the children thought he was right,

And two of the children thought I was right.

And the two who sided with him blamed me,

And the two who sided with me blamed him,

And they grieved for the one they sided with.

And all were torn with the guilt of judging,

And tortured in soul because they could not admire

Equally him and me.

Now every gardener knows that plants grown in cellars

Or under stones are twisted and yellow and weak.

And no mother would let her baby suck

Diseased milk from her breast.

Yet preachers and judges advise the raising of souls

Where there is no sunlight, but only twilight,

No warmth, but only dampness and cold—

Preachers and judges!

Edgar Lee Masters

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