Saturday, February 12

Scone Update & Spoon River

The Great Scone Experiment was a success! And I had a chocolate chip scone for dinner. Because I'm a terrible cook I deviated from the recipe a little; mini chocolate chips instead of raisins, a bit more sugar than was suggested and I didn't have any sour cream so I used some vanilla yogurt, but it turned out yummy! Not too sweet. If you're scone-curious, try the recipe I used. I am a good cook but a terrible baker and almost all of my baking attempts here in Colorado have failed miserably (I'm blaming the altitude.) but this was my first delicious success! I'm so happy.

Anyway, the real reason I am making this post...

I did some cleaning recently (no surprise there...) and found a list of all my favorite poems from The Spoon River Anthology. I'm not crazy about Edgar Lee Masters or anything, but The Spoon River Anthology is probably one of the coolest, most excellent, most innovative works of verse in the American canon, and it's also sorely overlooked. I've never once been taught any of these poems in school even though he's been in every textbook I've owned since high school.

The poems are all set in the graveyard of a town called Spoon River, and each poem is spoken by a person buried there. Some impart knowledge and regrets and others reveal secrets and tell stories. Even if you "don't like poetry" (Nonsense! You just haven't read any you like yet.) it's an excellent read and definitely worth checking out. Here are links to all my favorites hosted at and the first poem from the book wherein the hill where everyone is buried speaks and sets up the rest of the poems.

The Hill

Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley,
The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?
All, all are sleeping on the hill.

One passed in a fever,
One was burned in a mine,
One was killed in a brawl,
One died in a jail,
One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife-
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie and Edith,
The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one?--
All, all are sleeping on the hill.

One died in shameful child-birth,
One of a thwarted love,
One at the hands of a brute in a brothel,
One of a broken pride, in the search for heart's desire;
One after life in far-away London and Paris
Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Mag--
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Uncle Isaac and Aunt Emily,
And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton,
And Major Walker who had talked With venerable men of the revolution?--
All, all are sleeping on the hill.

They brought them dead sons from the war,
And daughters whom life had crushed,
And their children fatherless, crying--
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where is Old Fiddler Jones
Who played with life all his ninety years,
Braving the sleet with bared breast,
Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin,
Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven?
Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago,
Of the horse-races of long ago at Clary's Grove,
Of what Abe Lincoln said
One time at Springfield.

In no particular order...

Edmund Pollard
Faith Methany
Abel Melveny
Dorcas Gustine
Hare Drummer
Theodore the Poet
George Gray
Mrs. Sibley
The Unknown
Francis Turner
Petit the Poet
Willie Metcalf
Alexander Throckmorton

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