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

175. Henry C. Calhoun

I REACHED the highest place in Spoon River,

But through what bitterness of spirit!

The face of my father, sitting speechless,

Child-like, watching his canaries,

And looking at the court-house window

Of the county judge’s room,

And his admonitions to me to seek

My own in life, and punish Spoon River

To avenge the wrong the people did him,

Filled me with furious energy

To seek for wealth and seek for power.

But what did he do but send me along

The path that leads to the grove of the Furies?

I followed the path and I tell you this:

On the way to the grove you’ll pass the Fates,

Shadow-eyed, bent over their weaving.

Stop for a moment, and if you see

The thread of revenge leap out of the shuttle

Then quickly snatch from Atropos

The shears and cut it, lest your sons,

And the children of them and their children

Wear the envenomed robe.