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

78. State’s Attorney Fallas


I, THE scourge-wielder, balance-wrecker, 
Smiter with whips and swords; 
I, hater of the breakers of the law; 
I, legalist, inexorable and bitter, 
Driving the jury to hang the madman, Barry Holden,         5
Was made as one dead by light too bright for eyes, 
And woke to face a Truth with bloody brow: 
Steel forceps fumbled by a doctor’s hand 
Against my boy’s head as he entered life 
Made him an idiot.  10
I turned to books of science 
To care for him. 
That’s how the world of those whose minds are sick 
Became my work in life, and all my world. 
Poor ruined boy! You were, at last, the potter  15
And I and all my deeds of charity 
The vessels of your hand. 


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