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

169. Jonathan Houghton

THERE is the caw of a crow,

And the hesitant song of a thrush.

There is the tinkle of a cowbell far away,

And the voice of a plowman on Shipley’s hill.

The forest beyond the orchard is still

With midsummer stillness;

And along the road a wagon chuckles,

Loaded with corn, going to Atterbury.

And an old man sits under a tree asleep,

And an old woman crosses the road,

Coming from the orchard with a bucket of blackberries.

And a boy lies in the grass

Near the feet of the old man,

And looks up at the sailing clouds,

And longs, and longs, and longs

For what, he knows not:

For manhood, for life, for the unknown world!

Then thirty years passed,

And the boy returned worn out by life

And found the orchard vanished,

And the forest gone,

And the house made over,

And the roadway filled with dust from automobiles—

And himself desiring The Hill!