Lucinda Matlock by Edgar Lee Masters from Spoon River Anthology

Lucinda Matlock

by Edgar Lee Masters

“Lucinda Matlock” from Spoon River Anthology, a 1916 collection of short free verse poems that narrates the epitaphs of the residents of the fictional small town, Spoon River, which was named after the real Spoon River that ran near Masters’ home town in Illinois.

I WENT to the dances at Chandlerville,
And played snap-out at Winchester.
One time we changed partners,
Driving home in the moonlight of middle June,
And then I found Davis.
We were married and lived together for seventy years,
Enjoying, working, raising the twelve children,
Eight of whom we lost
Ere I had reached the age of sixty.
I spun,
I wove,
I kept the house,
I nursed the sick,
I made the garden, and for holiday
Rambled over the fields where sang the larks,
And by Spoon River gathering many a shell,
And many a flower and medicinal weed—
Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys.
At ninety—six I had lived enough, that is all,
And passed to a sweet repose.
What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,
Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?
Degenerate sons and daughters,
Life is too strong for you—
It takes life to love Life.

You will read a bit of Spoon River Anthology in Excellence in Literature English 3 American Literature Module 3.7.

Listen to a dramatic reading of “Lucinda Matlock” in this vintage recording of the Spoon River Anthology, performed by Betty Garrett and Naomi Caryl Hirshhorn the original Broadway cast.

More Spoon River Anthology excerpts

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