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fiddle you must

60. Fiddler Jones [an epitaph]

THE EARTH keeps some vibration going 
There in your heart, and that is you. 
And if the people find you can fiddle, 
Why, fiddle you must, for all your life. 
What do you see, a harvest of clover? 
Or a meadow to walk through to the river? 
The wind’s in the corn; you rub your hands 
For beeves hereafter ready for market; 
Or else you hear the rustle of skirts 
Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove. 
To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust 
Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth; 
They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy 
Stepping it off, to “Toor-a-Loor.” 
How could I till my forty acres
Not to speak of getting more, 
With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos 
Stirred in my brain by crows and robins 
And the creak of a wind-mill­only these? 
And I never started to plow in my life
That some one did not stop in the road 
And take me away to a dance or picnic. 
I ended up with forty acres; 
I ended up with a broken fiddle­ 
And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,
And not a single regret. 

~ Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950) from Spoon River Anthology (1916).
Sent to me by my retired friend, Harry.  :)




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