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By Edgar Lee Masters

I went to the dances at Chandlerville,

And played snap-out at Winchester.

One time we changed partners,

Driving home in the moonlight of middle June,

And then I found Davis.

We were married and lived together for seventy years,

Enjoying, working, raising the twelve children,

Eight of whom we lost

Ere I had reached the age of sixty.

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.

At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all,

And passed to a sweet repose.

What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,

Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?

Degenerate sons and daughters,

Life is too strong for you —

It takes life to love Life.


Poet Bio

The 1915 publication of Spoon River Anthology made Edgar Lee Masters famous by bringing into American poetry a scandalous subject matter and an innovative method: the secret lives and loves of a small town’s citizens, told in their own voices from beyond the grave. The book was a popular and critical triumph; nothing Masters published subsequently equaled its success.

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