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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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Written 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!

Written 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.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Dillard Sissman

 The buzzards wheel slowly
In wide circles, in a sky
Faintly hazed as from dust from the road.
And a wind sweeps through the pasture where I lie Beating the grass into long waves.
My kite is above the wind, Though now and then it wobbles, Like a man shaking his shoulders; And the tail streams out momentarily, Then sinks to rest.
And the buzzards wheel and wheel, Sweeping the zenith with wide circles Above my kite.
And the hills sleep.
And a farm house, white as snow, Peeps from green trees -- far away.
And I watch my kite, For the thin moon will kindle herself ere long, Then she will swing like a pendulum dial To the tail of my kite.
A spurt of flame like a water-dragon Dazzles my eyes -- I am shaken as a banner!

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Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Jonas Keene

 Why did Albert Schirding kill himself
Trying to be County Superintendent of Schools,
Blest as he was with the means of life
And wonderful children, bringing him honor
Ere he was sixty?
If even one of my boys could have run a news-stand,
Or one of my girls could have married a decent man,
I should not have walked in the rain
And jumped into bed with clothes all wet,
Refusing medical aid.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Homer Clapp

 Often Aner Clute at the gate
Refused me the parting kiss,
Saying we should be engaged before that;
And just with a distant clasp of the hand
She bade me good-night, as I brought her home
From the skating rink or the revival.
No sooner did my departing footsteps die away Than Lucius Atherton, (So I learned when Aner went to Peoria) Stole in at her window, or took her riding Behind his spanking team of bays Into the country.
The shock of it made me settle down, And I put all the money I got from my father's estate Into the canning factory, to get the job Of head accountant, and lost it all.
And then I knew I was one of Life's fools, Whom only death would treat as the equal Of other men, making me feel like a man.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Julia Miller

 We quarreled that morning,
For he was sixty-five, and I was thirty,
And I was nervous and heavy with the child
Whose birth I dreaded.
I thought over the last letter written me By that estranged young soul Whose betrayal of me I had concealed By marrying the old man.
Then I took morphine and sat down to read.
Across the blackness that came over my eyes I see the flickering light of these words even now: "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day thou shalt Be with me in paradise.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

William H. Herndon

 There by the window in the old house
Perched on the bluff, overlooking miles of valley,
My days of labor closed, sitting out life's decline,
Day by day did I look in my memory,
As one who gazes in an enchantress' crystal globe,
And I saw the figures of the past,
As if in a pageant glassed by a shining dream,
Move through the incredible sphere of time.
And I saw a man arise from the soil like a fabled giant And throw himself over a deathless destiny, Master of great armies, head of the republic, Bringing together into a dithyramb of recreative song The epic hopes of a people; At the same time Vulcan of sovereign fires, Where imperishable shields and swords were beaten out From spirits tempered in heaven.
Look in the crystal! See how he hastens on To the place where his path comes up to the path Of a child of Plutarch and Shakespeare.
O Lincoln, actor indeed, playing well your part, And Booth, who strode in a mimic play within the play, Often and often I saw you, As the cawing crows winged their way to the wood Over my house-top at solemn sunsets, There by my window, Alone.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Dr. Siegfried Iseman

 I said when they handed me my diploma,
I said to myself I will be good
And wise and brave and helpful to others;
I said I will carry the Christian creed
Into the practice of medicine!
Somehow the world and the other doctors
Know what's in your heart as soon as you make
This high-soured resolution.
And the way of it is they starve you out.
And no one comes to you but the poor.
And you find too late that being a doctor Is just a way of making a living.
And when you are poor and have to carry The Christian creed and wife and children All on your back, it is too much! That's why I made the Elixir of Youth, Which landed me in the jail at Peoria Branded a swindler and a crook By the upright Federal Judge!

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

The Hill

 Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom, and Charley,
The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?
All, all, are sleeping on the hill.
One passed in a fever, One was burned in a mine, One was killed in a brawl, One died in jail, One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife-- All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie, and Edith, The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one?-- All, all, are sleeping on the hill.
One died in shameful child-birth, One of a thwarted love, One at the hands of a brute in a brothel, One of a broken pride, in a search for a heart's desire, One after life in faraway London and Paris Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Mag-- All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where are Uncle Issac and Aunt Emily, And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton, And Major Walker who had talked With veneravle men of the revolution?-- All, all, are sleeping on the hill.
They brought them dead sons from the war, And daughters whom life had crushed, And their children fatherless, crying-- All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where is old Fiddler Jones Who played with life all his ninety years, Braving the sleet with bared breast, Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin, Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven? Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago, Of the horse-races long ago at Clary's Grove, Of what Abe Lincoln said One time at Springfield.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Jim Brown

 While I was handling Dom Pedro
I got at the thing that divides the race between men who are
For singing "Turkey in the straw" or "There is a fountain filled with blood" --
(Like Rile Potter used to sing it over at Concord);
For cards, or for Rev.
Peet's lecture on the holy land; For skipping the light fantastic, or passing the plate; For Pinafore, or a Sunday school cantata; For men, or for money; For the people or against them.
This was it: Rev.
Peet and the Social Purity Club, Headed by Ben Pantier's wife, Went to the Village trustees, And asked them to make me take Dom Pedro From the barn of Wash McNeely, there at the edge of town, To a barn outside of the corporation, On the ground that it corrupted public morals.
Well, Ben Pantier and Fiddler Jones saved the day -- They thought it a slam on colts.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

W. Lloyd Garrison Standard

 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.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Johnnie Sayre

 Father, thou canst never know
The anguish that smote my heart
For my disobedience, the moment I felt
The remorseless wheel of the engine
Sink into the crying flesh of my leg.
As they carried me to the home of widow Morris I could see the school-house in the valley To which I played truant to steal rides upon the trains.
I prayed to live until I could ask your forgiveness -- And then your tears, your broken words of comfort! From the solace of that hour I have gained infinite happiness.
Thou wert wise to chisel for me: "Taken from the evil to come.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Barry Holden

 The very fall my sister Nancy Knapp
Set fire to the house
They were trying Dr.
Duval For the murder of Zora Clemens, And I sat in the court two weeks Listening to every witness.
It was clear he had got her in a family way; And to let the child be born Would not do.
Well, how about me with eight children, And one coming, and the farm Mortgaged to Thomas Rhodes? And when I got home that night, (After listening to the story of the buggy ride, And the finding of Zora in the ditch,) The first thing I saw, right there by the steps, Where the boys had hacked for angle worms, Was the hatchet! And just as I entered there was my wife, Standing before me, big with child.
She started the talk of the mortgaged farm, And I killed her.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Walter Simmons

 My parents thought that I would be
As great as Edison or greater:
For as a boy I made balloons
And wondrous kites and toys with clocks
And little engines with tracks to run on
And telephones of cans and thread.
I played the cornet and painted pictures, Modeled in clay and took the part Of the villain in the "Octoroon.
" But then at twenty-one I married And had to live, and so, to live I learned the trade of making watches And kept the jewelry store on the square, Thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking, -- Not of business, but of the engine I studied the calculus to build.
And all Spoon River watched and waited To see it work, but it never worked.
And a few kind souls believed my genius Was somehow hampered by the store.
It wasn't true.
The truth was this: I didn't have the brains.

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Amelia Garrick

 Yes, here I lie close to a stunted rose bush
In a forgotten place near the fence
Where the thickets from Siever's woods
Have crept over, growing sparsely.
And you, you are a leader in New York, The wife of a noted millionaire, A name in the society columns, Beautiful, admired, magnified perhaps By the mirage of distance.
You have succeeded, I have failed In the eyes of the world.
You are alive, I am dead.
Yet I know that I vanquished your spirit; And I know that lying here far from you, Unheard of among your great friends In the brilliant world where you move, I am really the unconquerable power over your life That robs it of complete triumph.