POETS First Page INDEX of Poets INDEX of Titles & First Lines Masters Menu

Masters

 

Edgar Lee Masters
1868-1950

"W. Lloyd Garrison Standard"

(From "Spoon River Anthology" 1915)

 

Vegetarian, non-resistant, free-thinker, in ethics a Christian;
Orator apt at the rhine-stone rhythm of Ingersoll.
Carnivorous, avenger, believer and pagan.
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;
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.
What other thing could happen when I defended
The patriot scamps who burned the court house,
That Spoon River might have a new one,
Than plead them guilty? When Kinsey Keene drove through
The card-board mask of my life with a spear of light,
What could I do but slink away, like the beast of myself
Which I raised from a whelp, to a corner and growl?
The pyramid of my life was nought but a dune,
Barren and formless, spoiled at last by the storm.

[* Ed.note: The rigorous idealist preacher in Henrik Ibsen's "Brand"]

POETS First Page INDEX of Poets INDEX of Titles & First Lines Masters Menu