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

56. Homer Clapp

OFTEN Aner Clute at the gate

Refused me the parting kiss,

Saying we should be engaged before that;

And just with a distant clasp of the hand

She bade me good-night, as I brought her home

From the skating rink or the revival.

No sooner did my departing footsteps die away

Than Lucius Atherton,

(So I learned when Aner went to Peoria)

Stole in at her window, or took her riding

Behind his spanking team of bays

Into the country.

The shock of it made me settle down,

And I put all the money I got from my father’s estate

Into the canning factory, to get the job

Of head accountant, and lost it all.

And then I knew I was one of Life’s fools,

Whom only death would treat as the equal

Of other men, making me feel like a man.