Edgar Lee Masters- Searcy Foote


I wanted to go away to college 
But rich Aunt Persis wouldn’t help me. 
So I made gardens and raked the lawns 
And bought John Alden’s books with my earnings 
And toiled for the very means of life.        
I wanted to marry Delia Prickett, 
But how could I do it with what I earned? 
And there was Aunt Persis more than seventy, 
Who sat in a wheel-chair half alive, 
With her throat so paralyzed, when she swallowed 
The soup ran out of her mouth like a duck— 
A gourmand yet, investing her income 
In mortgages, fretting all the time 
About her notes and rents and papers. 
That day I was sawing wood for her, 
And reading Proudhon in between. 
I went in the house for a drink of water, 
And there she sat asleep in her chair, 
And Proudhon lying on the table, 
And a bottle of chloroform on the book, 
She used sometimes for an aching tooth! 
I poured the chloroform on a handkerchief 
And held it to her nose till she died.— 
Oh, Delia, Delia, you and Proudhon 
Steadied my hand, and the coroner 
Said she died of heart failure. 
I married Delia and got the money— 
A joke on you, Spoon River? 

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