why so poetical, Minerva,
This gray morning?
But in taking life for myself,
In seizing and crushing their souls,
As a child crushes grapes and drinks
From its palms the purple juice,
I came to this wingless void,
Where neither red, nor gold, nor wine,
Nor the rhythm of life are known.
Your husband is dead, your sister lives far away,
Your father is bent with age;
He has forgotten you, he scarcely leaves the house
And they cried to me for life, life, life.
And joy beyond any joy is the joy
Of having the good in you seen, and seeing the good
At the miraculous moment!
At last brought here-
My boyhood home, you know-
Not even a little tablet in Chicago
To keep my name alive.
There is the silence of those unjustly punished;
And the silence of the dying whose hand
Suddenly grips yours.
After wandering afar, over the world,
Life in cities, marriages, motehrhood--
(They all married, and I am homeless, alone.
In the morning of life I knew aspiration and saw glory.
And if the people find you can fiddle,
Why, fiddle you must and for all your life.
In death, therefore, I am avenged.
I died to you, no doubt.
I belonged to the church,
And to the party of prohibition;
And the villagers thought I died of eating watermelon.
And we -- we, the memories, stand here for ourselves alone,
For no eye marks us, or would know why we are here.
Seest thou a man diligent in business?
How shall the soul of a man be larger than the life he has lived?
All were gone, or broken-winged or devoured by life --
I sat under my cedar tree.
I spun, I wove, I kept the house, I nursed the sick,
I made the garden, and for holiday
Rambled over the fields where sang the larks,
And by Spoon River gathering many a shell,
And many a flower and medicinal weed--
Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys.
Do you think that odes and sermons,
And the ringing of church bells,
And the blood of old men and young men,
Martyred for the truth they saw
With eyes made bright by faith in God,
Accomplished the world's great reformations?
The boy I loved best of all in the school?
But not a cell in all the tree
Knew aught save that it thrilled with life,
Nor cared because the hammock fell
In the dust with Milton's poems.
My mind was a mirror:
It saw what it saw, it knew what it knew.
There is the silence of a great hatred,
And the silence of a great love,
And the silence of an embittered friendship.
I fell just as she gored me to my death.
I, lover of Nature, beloved for my love of her,
Held such converse afar with the great
Who knew her better than I.
Oh, boy, boy, for whom I prayed and prayed
In many a watchful hour at night,
Do you remember the letter I wrote you
Of the beautiful love of Christ?
In the lust of my strength
I cursed God, but he paid no attention to me:
I might as well have cursed the stars.
It is well to abstain from murder and lust,
To forgive, do good to others, worship God
Without graven images.
Paul was invalided from over study,
Mary became a recluse at home for love of a man --
I sat under my cedar tree.
There is no marriage in heaven,
But there is love.
More Edgar Lee Masters Quotations (Based on Topics)
Life - Love - Man - Soul - Silence - World - Nature - God - Sadness - Truth - Youth - Christianity - Death & Dying - Woman - Children - Liberty & Freedom - Doubt & Skepticism - Home - Wisdom & Knowledge - View All Edgar Lee Masters Quotations
Walt Whitman - Khalil Gibran - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Homer - Aeschylus - Sophocles - Rumi - John Betjeman - Hesiod - Allan Cunningham