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

156. Abel Melveny

I BOUGHT every kind of machine that’s known—

Grinders, shellers, planters, mowers,

Mills and rakes and ploughs and threshers—

And all of them stood in the rain and sun,

Getting rusted, warped and battered,

For I had no sheds to store them in,

And no use for most of them.

And toward the last, when I thought it over,

There by my window, growing clearer

About myself, as my pulse slowed down,

And looked at one of the mills I bought—

Which I didn’t have the slightest need of,

As things turned out, and I never ran—

A fine machine, once brightly varnished,

And eager to do its work,

Now with its paint washed off—

I saw myself as a good machine

That Life had never used.