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

173. Henry Tripp

THE BANK broke and I lost my savings.

I was sick of the tiresome game in Spoon River

And I made up my mind to run away

And leave my place in life and my family;

But just as the midnight train pulled in,

Quick off the steps jumped Cully Green

And Martin Vise, and began to fight

To settle their ancient rivalry,

Striking each other with fists that sounded

Like the blows of knotted clubs.

Now it seemed to me that Cully was winning,

When his bloody face broke into a grin

Of sickly cowardice, leaning on Martin

And whining out “We’re good friends, Mart,

You know that I’m your friend.”

But a terrible punch from Martin knocked him

Around and around and into a heap.

And then they arrested me as a witness,

And I lost my train and staid in Spoon River

To wage my battle of life to the end.

Oh, Cully Green, you were my savior—

You, so ashamed and drooped for years,

Loitering listless about the streets,

And trying rags ’round your festering soul,

Who failed to fight it out.