Home  »  Spoon River Anthology  »  25. “Butch” Weldy

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

25. “Butch” Weldy

AFTER I got religion and steadied down

They gave me a job in the canning works,

And every morning I had to fill

The tank in the yard with gasoline,

That fed the blow-fires in the sheds

To heat the soldering irons.

And I mounted a rickety ladder to do it,

Carrying buckets full of the stuff.

One morning, as I stood there pouring,

The air grew still and seemed to heave,

And I shot up as the tank exploded,

And down I came with both legs broken,

And my eyes burned crisp as a couple of eggs.

For someone left a blow-fire going,

And something sucked the flame in the tank.

The Circuit Judge said whoever did it

Was a fellow-servant of mine, and so

Old Rhodes’ son didn’t have to pay me.

And I sat on the witness stand as blind

As Jack the Fiddler, saying over and over,

“I didn’t know him at all.”