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

234. Gustav Richter

AFTER a long day of work in my hot-houses

Sleep was sweet, but if you sleep on your left side

Your dreams may be abruptly ended.

I was among my flowers where some one

Seemed to be raising them on trial,

As if after-while to be transplanted

To a larger garden of freer air.

And I was disembodied vision

Amid a light, as it were the sun

Had floated in and touched the roof of glass

Like a toy balloon and softly bursted,

And etherealized in golden air.

And all was silence, except the splendor

Was immanent with thought as clear

As a speaking voice, and I, as thought,

Could hear a Presence think as he walked

Between the boxes pinching off leaves,

Looking for bugs and noting values,

With an eye that saw it all:—

“Homer, oh yes! Pericles, good.

Cæsar Borgia, what shall be done with it?

Dante, too much manure, perhaps.

Napoleon, leave him awhile as yet.

Shelley, more soil. Shakespeare, needs spraying—”

Clouds, eh!—