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

132. Mickey M’Grew

IT was just like everything else in life:

Something outside myself drew me down,

My own strength never failed me.

Why, there was the time I earned the money

With which to go away to school,

And my father suddenly needed help

And I had to give him all of it.

Just so it went till I ended up

A man-of-all-work in Spoon River.

Thus when I got the water-tower cleaned,

And they hauled me up the seventy feet,

I unhooked the rope from my waist,

And laughingly flung my giant arms

Over the smooth steel lips of the top of the tower—

But they slipped from the treacherous slime,

And down, down, down, I plunged

Through bellowing darkness!