Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950).  Spoon River Anthology.  1916.

108. Robert Davidson

I GREW spiritually fat living off the souls of men. 
If I saw a soul that was strong 
I wounded its pride and devoured its strength. 
The shelters of friendship knew my cunning, 
For where I could steal a friend I did so.         5
And wherever I could enlarge my power 
By undermining ambition, I did so, 
Thus to make smooth my own. 
And to triumph over other souls, 
Just to assert and prove my superior strength,  10
Was with me a delight, 
The keen exhilaration of soul gymnastics. 
Devouring souls, I should have lived forever. 
But their undigested remains bred in me a deadly nephritis, 
With fear, restlessness, sinking spirits,  15
Hatred, suspicion, vision disturbed. 
I collapsed at last with a shriek. 
Remember the acorn; 
It does not devour other acorns. 



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