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

88. Mrs. Charles Bliss

REVEREND WILEY advised me not to divorce him

For the sake of the children,

And Judge Somers advised him the same.

So we stuck to the end of the path.

But two of the children thought he was right,

And two of the children thought I was right.

And the two who sided with him blamed me,

And the two who sided with me blamed him,

And they grieved for the one they sided with.

And all were torn with the guilt of judging,

And tortured in soul because they could not admire

Equally him and me.

Now every gardener knows that plants grown in cellars

Or under stones are twisted and yellow and weak.

And no mother would let her baby suck

Diseased milk from her breast.

Yet preachers and judges advise the raising of souls

Where there is no sunlight, but only twilight,

No warmth, but only dampness and cold—

Preachers and judges!