Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

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

242. Isaiah Beethoven

THEY told me I had three months to live, 
So I crept to Bernadotte, 
And sat by the mill for hours and hours 
Where the gathered waters deeply moving 
Seemed not to move:         5
O world, that’s you! 
You are but a widened place in the river 
Where Life looks down and we rejoice for her 
Mirrored in us, and so we dream 
And turn away, but when again  10
We look for the face, behold the low-lands 
And blasted cotton-wood trees where we empty 
Into the larger stream! 
But here by the mill the castled clouds 
Mocked themselves in the dizzy water;  15
And over its agate floor at night 
The flame of the moon ran under my eyes 
Amid a forest stillness broken 
By a flute in a hut on the hill. 
At last when I came to lie in bed  20
Weak and in pain, with the dreams about me, 
The soul of the river had entered my soul, 
And the gathered power of my soul was moving 
So swiftly it seemed to be at rest 
Under cities of cloud and under  25
Spheres of silver and changing worlds— 
Until I saw a flash of trumpets 
Above the battlements over Time! 



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