August 1, 2009

Three from Spoon River

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.

So starts THE SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY. Short tales of folks who were born, and finally buried in Spoon River, each with a story to tell.

Doctor Meyers

No other man, unless it was Doc Hill,
did more for people in this town than I.
And all the weak, the halt, the improvident
and those who could not pay flocked to me.
I was good-hearted, easy Doctor Meyers.
I was healthy, happy, in comfortable fortune,
Blest with a congenial mate, my children raised,
All wedded, doing well in the world.
And then one night, Minerva, the poetess,
came to me in her trouble, crying.
I tried to help her out-she died-
They indicted me, the newspapers disgraced me,
wife perished of a broken heart.
And pneumonia finished me.

Mrs. Meyers

He protested all his life long
The newspapers lied about him villainously;
That he was not at fault for Minerva's fall,
But only tried to help her.
Poor soul so sunk in sin he could not see
That even trying to help her, as he called it,
He had broken the law human and divine.
Passers by, an ancient admonition to you:
If your ways would be ways of pleasantness,
And all your pathways peace,
Love God and keep his commandments.

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!

Written by Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950) published in 1915. Mr. Masters introduced 214 characters and residence's of the cemetery.

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