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Best Famous Edgar Lee Masters Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Edgar Lee Masters poems. This is a select list of the best famous Edgar Lee Masters poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Edgar Lee Masters poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Edgar Lee Masters poems.

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by Edgar Lee Masters |

Doc Hill

I went up and down the streets
Here and there by day and night,
Through all hours of the night caring for the poor who were sick.
Do you know why?
My wife hated me, my son went to the dogs.
And I turned to the people and poured out my love to them.
Sweet it was to see the crowds about the lawns on the day of my funeral,
And hear them murmur their love and sorrow.
But oh, dear God, my soul trembled, scarcely able
To hold to the railing of the new life
When I saw Em Stanton behind the oak tree
At the grave,
Hiding herself, and her grief!


by Edgar Lee Masters |

Seth Compton

When I died, the circulating library
Which I built up for Spoon River,
And managed for the good of inquiring minds,
Was sold at auction on the public square,
As if to destroy the last vestige
Of my memory and influence.
For those of you who could not see the virtue
Of knowing Volney's "Ruins" as well as Butler's "Analogy"
And "Faust" as well as "Evangeline,"
Were really the power in the village,
And often you asked me,
"What is the use of knowing the evil in the world?"
I am out of your way now, Spoon River,
Choose your own good and call it good.
For I could never make you see
That no one knows what is good
Who knows not what is evil;
And no one knows what is true
Who knows not what is false.


by Vachel Lindsay |

The Prarie Battlements

 (To Edgar Lee Masters, with great respect)

HERE upon the prarie 
Is our ancestral hall. 
Agate is the dome, 
Cornelian the wall. 
Ghouls are in the cellar, 
But fays upon the stairs. 
And here lived old King Silver Dreams, 
Always at his prayers.

Here lived gray Queen Silver Dreams, 
Always signing psalms, 
And haughty Grandma Silver Dreams, 
Throned with folded palms. 
Here played cousin Alice. 
Her soul was best of all. 
And every fairy loved her, 
In our ancestral hall.

Alice has a prarie grave. 
The King and Queen lie low, 
And aged Grandma Silver Dreams, 
Four toombstones in a row. 
But still in snow and sunshine 
Stands our ancestral hall.

Agate is the dome, 
Cornelian the wall. 
And legends walk about, 
And proverbs, with proud airs. 
Ghouls are in the cellar, 
But fays upon the stairs.


by Edgar Lee Masters |

Willard Fluke

 My wife lost her health,
And dwindled until she weighed scarce ninety pounds.
Then that woman, whom the men
Styled Cleopatra, came along.
And we -- we married ones
All broke our vows, myself among the rest.
Years passed and one by one
Death claimed them all in some hideous form,
And I was borne along by dreams
Of God's particular grace for me,
And I began to write, write, write, reams on reams
Of the second coming of Christ.
Then Christ came to me and said,
"Go into the church and stand before the congregation
And confess your sin."
But just as I stood up and began to speak
I saw my little girl, who was sitting in the front seat --
My little girl who was born blind!
After that, all is blackness.


by Edgar Lee Masters |

Rain In My Heart

 There is a quiet in my heart
Like on who rests from days of pain.
Outside, the sparrows on the roof
Are chirping in the dripping rain.

Rain in my heart; rain on the roof;
And memory sleeps beneath the gray 
And the windless sky and brings no
 dreams
Of any well remembered day.

I would not have the heavens fair,
Nor golden clouds, nor breezes
 mild,
But days like this, until my heart 
To loss of you is reconciled. 

I would not see you. Every hope 
To know you as you were has 
 ranged.
I, who am altered, would not find 
The face I loved so greatly changed.


by Edgar Lee Masters |

Fiddler Jones

 The earth keeps some vibration going
There in your heart, and that is you.
And if the people find you can fiddle,
Why, fiddle you must and for all your life.
What do you see, a harvest ofclover?
Or a meadow to awlk through to the river?
The wind's in the corn; you rub your hands
for beeves hereafter ready for market;
Or else you hear the rustle of skirts
Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove.
To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust
Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;
They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy
Stepping it off, to "Toor-a-Loor."
How could I till my forty acres
Not to speak of getting more,
With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos
Stirred in my brain by crows androbins
And the creak of a wind-mill—only these?
And I never started to plow in my life
That some one did not stop in the road
And tkae me away to a dance or picnic.
I ended up with forty acres;
I ended up with a broken fiddle—
And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories.
And not a single regret.


by Edgar Lee Masters |

George Gray

 I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me --
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire --
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.


by Edgar Lee Masters |

Judson Stoddard

 On a mountain top above the clouds
That streamed like a sea below me
I said that peak is the thought of Budda,
And that one is the prayer of Jesus,
And this one is the dream of Plato,
And that one there the song of Dante,
And this is Kant and this is Newton,
And this is Milton and this is Shakespeare,
And this the hope of the Mother Church,
And this -- why all these peaks are poems,
Poems and prayers that pierce the clouds.
And I said "What does God do with mountains
That rise almost to heaven?"


by Edgar Lee Masters |

Andy the Night-Watch

 In my Spanish cloak,
And old slouch hat,
And overshoes of felt,
And Tyke, my faithful dog,
And my knotted hickory cane,
I slipped about with a bull's-eye lantern
From door to door on the square,
As the midnight stars wheeled round,
And the bell in the steeple murmured
From the blowing of the wind;
And the weary steps of old Doc Hill
Sounded like one who walks in sleep,
And a far-off rooster crew.
And now another is watching Spoon River
As others watched before me.
And here we lie, Doc Hill and I
Where none breaks through and steals,
And no eye needs to guard.


by Edgar Lee Masters |

Francis Turner

 I could not run or play
In boyhood.
In manhood I could only sip the cup,
Not drink --
For scarlet-fever left my heart diseased.
Yet I lie here
Soothed by a secret none but Mary knows:
There is a garden of acacia,
Catalpa trees, and arbors sweet with vines --
There on that afternoon in June
By Mary's side --
Kissing her with my soul upon my lips
It suddenly took flight.