Born today was Edgar Lee Masters
Who wrote about folks in the town of Spoon River*
Where Reverend Sibley was one of those pastors
Who are not what they seem in the words they deliver.
*Masters wrote tombstone epitaphs for 244 people in Spoon River, the fictional name he gave to Lewistown, Illinois.
NOT character, not fortitude, not patience
Were mine, the which the village thought I had
In bearing with my wife, while preaching on,
Doing the work God chose for me.
I loathed her as a termagant, as a wanton.
I knew of her adulteries, every one.
But even so, if I divorced the woman
I must forsake the ministry.
Therefore to do God's work and have it crop,
I bore with her
So lied I to myself
So lied I to Spoon River!
Yet I tried lecturing, ran for the legislature,
Canvassed for books, with just the thought in mind:
If I make money thus,
I will divorce her.