Home  »  Spoon River Anthology  »  146. Walter Simmons

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

146. Walter Simmons

MY parents thought that I would be

As great as Edison or greater:

For as a boy I made balloons

And wondrous kites and toys with clocks

And little engines with tracks to run on

And telephones of cans and thread.

I played the cornet and painted pictures,

Modeled in clay and took the part

Of the villain in the “Octoroon.”

But then at twenty-one I married

And had to live, and so, to live

I learned the trade of making watches

And kept the jewelry store on the square,

Thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking,—

Not of business, but of the engine

I studied the calculus to build.

And all Spoon River watched and waited

To see it work, but it never worked.

And a few kind souls believed my genius

Was somehow hampered by the store.

It wasn’t true. The truth was this:

I didn’t have the brains.