Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

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

25. “Butch” Weldy

AFTER I got religion and steadied down 
They gave me a job in the canning works, 
And every morning I had to fill 
The tank in the yard with gasoline, 
That fed the blow-fires in the sheds         5
To heat the soldering irons. 
And I mounted a rickety ladder to do it, 
Carrying buckets full of the stuff. 
One morning, as I stood there pouring, 
The air grew still and seemed to heave,  10
And I shot up as the tank exploded, 
And down I came with both legs broken, 
And my eyes burned crisp as a couple of eggs. 
For someone left a blow-fire going, 
And something sucked the flame in the tank.  15
The Circuit Judge said whoever did it 
Was a fellow-servant of mine, and so 
Old Rhodes’ son didn’t have to pay me. 
And I sat on the witness stand as blind 
As Jack the Fiddler, saying over and over,  20
“I didn’t know him at all.” 



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