Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

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

146. Walter Simmons

MY parents thought that I would be 
As great as Edison or greater: 
For as a boy I made balloons 
And wondrous kites and toys with clocks 
And little engines with tracks to run on         5
And telephones of cans and thread. 
I played the cornet and painted pictures, 
Modeled in clay and took the part 
Of the villain in the “Octoroon.” 
But then at twenty-one I married  10
And had to live, and so, to live 
I learned the trade of making watches 
And kept the jewelry store on the square, 
Thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking,— 
Not of business, but of the engine  15
I studied the calculus to build. 
And all Spoon River watched and waited 
To see it work, but it never worked. 
And a few kind souls believed my genius 
Was somehow hampered by the store.  20
It wasn’t true. The truth was this: 
I didn’t have the brains. 



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