Edgar Lee Masters

(23 August 1868 – 5 March 1950 / Kansas / United States)

Alfred Moir - Poem by Edgar Lee Masters

Why was I not devoured by self-contempt,
And rotted down by indifference
And impotent revolt like Indignation Jones?
Why, with all of my errant steps
Did I miss the fate of Willard Fluke?
And why, though I stood at Burchard's bar,
As a sort of decoy for the house to the boys
To buy the drinks, did the curse of drink
Fall on me like rain that runs off,
Leaving the soul of me dry and clean?
And why did I never kill a man
Like Jack McGuire?
But instead I mounted a little in life,
And I owe it all to a book I read.
But why did I go to Mason City,
Where I chanced to see the book in a window,
With its garish cover luring my eye?
And why did my soul respond to the book,
As I read it over and over?

Comments about Alfred Moir by Edgar Lee Masters

  • Sylvia Frances Chan (12/8/2017 6:43:00 PM)

    THE FIRST PART: because they cannot be posted in ONE WHOLE, so I have divided inti THREE PARTS:
    My CONGRATS to the Family of the Classic Poet. Such a greatest JOY to read this very intelligent poem of The DAY. Full of metaphors and bit irony. It is here an obvious fact that the poet was not addicted to alcohol,
    (Report) Reply

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  • Sylvia Frances Chan (12/8/2017 6:42:00 PM)

    as he declared himself as dry and clean BUT he made hints to the present famous persons in society at his time. All I know is that the poet loved a very lot reading books that he described in the last FIVE lines. I must admit that I had to read this poem at the least twice. Perhaps thrice.
    (Report) Reply

  • Sylvia Frances Chan (12/8/2017 6:40:00 PM)

    A very enjoyable Classic poem with tints of light irony. With the very best wishes, a TEN for this entertaining poem, sincerely Sylvia Frances Chan AD Saturday 9 Dec 2017 at 1.35 hrs. AM West European Time.
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (12/8/2017 6:33:00 PM)

    Fall on me! ! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Glen Kappy (12/8/2017 4:48:00 PM)

    From the Spoon River Anthology I'm guessing, the above poem by itself loses something without knowing who the other people are the speaker refers to.

    I like how straightforward it is and the descriptive language—devoured and rotted great verbs in their contexts, and impotent and errant great adjectives in theirs.

    What was the book? I'd like to know.

    And the closing four lines are mysteries that I share which bring to my mind the idea of destiny.

    (Report) Reply

  • Geeta Radhakrishna Menon (6/19/2017 11:33:00 PM)

    We all have so many whys in our life.
    The questions and a hint of regret most elegantly worded in this poem.
    But why did I go to Mason City,
    Where I chanced to see the book in a window,
    With its garish cover luring my eye?
    And why did my soul respond to the book,
    As I read it over and over?
    (Report) Reply

  • (6/19/2017 6:28:00 AM)

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this (Report) Reply

  • Alexander Julian (6/19/2017 4:26:00 AM)

    Sometimes you give the answers by asking questions. Isn't that strange? Questions can be answers and answers can be questions, thus we're still in the universe trying to grasp the light out of window like Edgar's book did for him. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (6/19/2017 2:29:00 AM)

    Such an interesting poem posted here... Many thanks...👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: city, fate, house, rain, life, running

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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