Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

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

52. Justice Arnett

IT is true, fellow citizens, 
That my old docket lying there for years 
On a shelf above my head and over 
The seat of justice, I say it is true 
That docket had an iron rim         5
Which gashed my baldness when it fell— 
(Somehow I think it was shaken loose 
By the heave of the air all over town 
When the gasoline tank at the canning works 
Blew up and burned Butch Weldy)—  10
But let us argue points in order, 
And reason the whole case carefully: 
First I concede my head was cut, 
But second the frightful thing was this: 
The leaves of the docket shot and showered  15
Around me like a deck of cards 
In the hands of a sleight of hand performer. 
And up to the end I saw those leaves 
Till I said at last, “Those are not leaves, 
Why, can’t you see they are days and days  20
And the days and days of seventy years? 
And why do you torture me with leaves 
And the little entries on them?” 



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