Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

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

140. Bert Kessler

I WINGED my bird, 
Though he flew toward the setting sun; 
But just as the shot rang out, he soared 
Up and up through the splinters of golden light, 
Till he turned right over, feathers ruffled,         5
With some of the down of him floating near, 
And fell like a plummet into the grass. 
I tramped about, parting the tangles, 
Till I saw a splash of blood on a stump, 
And the quail lying close to the rotten roots.  10
I reached my hand, but saw no brier, 
But something pricked and stung and numbed it. 
And then, in a second, I spied the rattler— 
The shutters wide in his yellow eyes, 
The head of him arched, sunk back in the rings of him,  15
A circle of filth, the color of ashes, 
Or oak leaves bleached under layers of leaves. 
I stood like a stone as he shrank and uncoiled 
And started to crawl beneath the stump, 
When I fell limp in the grass.  20



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