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

171. Shack Dye


THE WHITE men played all sorts of jokes on me. 
They took big fish off my hook 
And put little ones on, while I was away 
Getting a stringer, and made me believe 
I hadn’t seen aright the fish I had caught.         5
When Burr Robbins circus came to town 
They got the ring master to let a tame leopard 
Into the ring, and made me believe 
I was whipping a wild beast like Samson 
When I, for an offer of fifty dollars,  10
Dragged him out to his cage. 
One time I entered my blacksmith shop 
And shook as I saw some horse-shoes crawling 
Across the floor, as if alive— 
Walter Simmons had put a magnet  15
Under the barrel of water. 
Yet everyone of you, you white men, 
Was fooled about fish and about leopards too, 
And you didn’t know any more than the horse-shoes did 
What moved you about Spoon River.  20


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