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

241. Aaron Hatfield

BETTER than granite, Spoon River,

Is the memory-picture you keep of me

Standing before the pioneer men and women

There at Concord Church on Communion day.

Speaking in broken voice of the peasant youth

Of Galilee who went to the city

And was killed by bankers and lawyers;

My voice mingling with the June wind

That blew over wheat fields from Atterbury;

While the white stones in the burying ground

Around the Church shimmered in the summer sun.

And there, though my own memories

Were too great to bear, were you, O pioneers,

With bowed heads breathing forth your sorrow

For the sons killed in battle and the daughters

And little children who vanished in life’s morning,

Or at the intolerable hour of noon.

But in those moments of tragic silence,

When the wine and bread were passed,

Came the reconciliation for us—

Us the ploughmen and the hewers of wood,

Us the peasants, brothers of the peasant of Galilee—

To us came the Comforter

And the consolation of tongues of flame!