Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

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

191. Harlan Sewall

YOU never understood, O unknown one, 
Why it was I repaid 
Your devoted friendship and delicate ministrations 
First with diminished thanks, 
Afterward by gradually withdrawing my presence from you,         5
So that I might not be compelled to thank you, 
And then with silence which followed upon 
Our final Separation. 
You had cured my diseased soul. But to cure it 
You saw my disease, you knew my secret,  10
And that is why I fled from you. 
For though when our bodies rise from pain 
We kiss forever the watchful hands 
That gave us wormwood, while we shudder 
For thinking of the wormwood,  15
A soul that’s cured is a different matter, 
For there we’d blot from memory 
The soft-toned words, the searching eyes, 
And stand forever oblivious, 
Not so much of the sorrow itself  20
As of the hand that healed it. 



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