by Edgar Lee Masters
[from Spoon River Anthology 1 of 33 poems added to the 1916 edition]
There at Geneva where Mt. Blanc floated above
The wine-hued lake like a cloud, when a breeze was blown
Out of an empty sky of blue, and the roaring Rhone
Hurried under the bridge through chasms of rock;
And the music along the cafés was part of the splendor
Of dancing water under a torrent of light;
And the purer part of the genius of Jean Rousseau
Was the silent music of all we saw or heard–
There at Geneva, I say, was the rapture less
Because I could not link myself with the I of yore,
When twenty years before I wandered about Spoon River?
Nor remember what I was nor what I felt?
We live in the hour all free of the hours gone by.
Therefore, O soul, if you lose yourself in death,
And wake in some Geneva by some Mt. Blanc,
What do you care if you know not yourself as the you
Who lived and loved in a little corner of earth
Known as Spoon River ages and ages vanished?
[To read more Spoon River Anthology click here.]