Edgar LeeMastersUS stamp
Henry Tripp
by Edgar Lee Masters
from Spoon River Anthology [1915]

The bank broke and I lost my savings.
I was sick of the tiresome game in Spoon River
And I made up my mind to run away
And leave my place in life and my family;
But just as the midnight train pulled in,
Quick off the steps jumped Cully Green
And Martin Vise, and began to fight
To settle their ancient rivalry,
Striking each other with fists that sounded
Like the blows of knotted clubs.
Now it seemed to me that Cully was winning,
When his bloody face broke into a grin
Of sickly cowardice, leaning on Martin
And whining out “We’re good friends, Mart,
You know that I’m your friend.”
But a terrible punch from Martin knocked him
Around and around and into a heap.
And then they arrested me as a witness,
And I lost my train and staid in Spoon River
To wage my battle of life to the end.
Oh, Cully Green, you were my savior–
You, so ashamed and drooped for years,
Loitering listless about the streets,
And tying rags ’round your festering soul,
Who failed to fight it out.

[To read more Spoon River Anthology click here.]

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