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Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

105. Ida Chicken

AFTER I had attended lectures

At our Chautauqua, and studied French

For twenty years, committing the grammar

Almost by heart,

I thought I’d take a trip to Paris

To give my culture a final polish.

So I went to Peoria for a passport—

(Thomas Rhodes was on the train that morning.)

And there the clerk of the district Court

Made me swear to support and defend

The constitution—yes, even me—

Who couldn’t defend or support it at all!

And what do you think? That very morning

The Federal Judge, in the very next room

To the room where I took the oath,

Decided the constitution

Exempted Rhodes from paying taxes

For the water works of Spoon River!