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Willie Metcalf

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Written by Edgar Lee Masters

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 I was Willie Metcalf.
They used to call me "Doctor Meyers" Because, they said, I looked like him.
And he was my father, according to Jack McGuire.
I lived in the livery stable, Sleeping on the floor Side by side with Roger Baughman's bulldog, Or sometimes in a stall.
I could crawl between the legs of the wildest horses Without getting kicked -- we knew each other.
On spring days I tramped through the country To get the feeling, which I sometimes lost, That I was not a separate thing from the earth.
I used to lose myself, as if in sleep, By lying with eyes half-open in the woods.
Sometimes I taIked with animals -- even toads and snakes -- Anything that had an eye to look into.
Once I saw a stone in the sunshine Trying to turn into jelly.
In April days in this cemetery The dead people gathered all about me, And grew still, like a congregation in silent prayer.
I never knew whether I was a part of the earth With flowers growing in me, or whether I walked -- Now I know.


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