Edgar Lee Masters

(23 August 1868 – 5 March 1950 / Kansas / United States)

Abel Melveny


I bought every kind of machine that's known --
Grinders, shellers, planters, mowers,
Mills and rakes and ploughs and threshers --
And all of them stood in the rain and sun,
Getting rusted, warped and battered,
For I had no sheds to store them in,
And no use for most of them.
And toward the last, when I thought it over,
There by my window, growing clearer
About myself, as my pulse slowed down,
And looked at one of the mills I bought --
Which I didn't have the slightest need of,
As things turned out, and I never ran --
A fine machine, once brightly varnished,
And eager to do its work,
Now with its paint washed off --
I saw myself as a good machine
That Life had never used.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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