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

137. Josiah Tompkins

I WAS well known and much beloved

And rich, as fortunes are reckoned

In Spoon River, where I had lived and worked.

That was the home for me,

Though all my children had flown afar—

Which is the way of Nature—all but one.

The boy, who was the baby, stayed at home,

To be my help in my failing years

And the solace of his mother.

But I grew weaker, as he grew stronger,

And he quarreled with me about the business,

And his wife said I was a hindrance to it;

And he won his mother to see as he did,

Till they tore me up to be transplanted

With them to her girlhood home in Missouri.

And so much of my fortune was gone at last,

Though I made the will just as he drew it,

He profited little by it.