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

126. Editor Whedon

TO be able to see every side of every question

To be on every side, to be everything, to be nothing long;

To pervert truth, to ride it for a purpose,

To use great feelings and passions of the human family

For base designs, for cunning ends,

To wear a mask like the Greeks actors—

Your eight-page paper—behind which you huddle,

Bawling through the megaphone of big type:

“This is I, the giant.”

Thereby also living the life of a sneak-thief,

Poisoned with the anonymous words

Of your clandestine soul.

To scratch dirt over scandal for money,

And exhume it to the winds for revenge,

Or to sell papers,

Crushing reputations, or bodies, if need be,

To win at any cost, save your own life.

To glory in demoniac power, ditching civilization,

As a paranoiac boy puts a log on the track

And derails the express train.

To be an editor, as I was.

Then to lie here close by the river over the place

Where the sewage flows from the village,

And the empty cans and garbage are dumped,

And abortions are hidden.