Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

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

165. Schroeder the Fisherman

I SAT on the bank above Bernadotte 
And dropped crumbs in the water, 
Just to see the minnows bump each other, 
Until the strongest got the prize. 
Or I went to my little pasture,         5
Where the peaceful swine were asleep in the wallow, 
Or nosing each other lovingly, 
And emptied a basket of yellow corn, 
And watched them push and squeal and bite, 
And trample each other to get the corn.  10
And I saw how Christian Dallman’s farm, 
Of more than three thousand acres, 
Swallowed the patch of Felix Schmidt, 
As a bass will swallow a minnow. 
And I say if there’s anything in man—  15
Spirit, or conscience, or breath of God 
That makes him different from fishes or hogs, 
I’d like to see it work! 


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