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

154. Peleg Poague

HORSES and men are just alike.

There was my stallion, Billy Lee,

Black as a cat and trim as a deer,

With an eye of fire, keen to start,

And he could hit the fastest speed

Of any racer around Spoon River.

But just as you’d think he couldn’t lose,

With his lead of fifty yards or more,

He’d rear himself and throw the rider,

And fall back over, tangled up,

Completely gone to pieces.

You see he was a perfect fraud:

He couldn’t win, he couldn’t work,

He was too light to haul or plow with,

And no one wanted colts from him.

And when I tried to drive him—well,

He ran away and killed me.