Petit, the Poet

By Edgar Lee Masters 1868–1950
Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick, 
Tick, tick, tick, like mites in a quarrel— 
Faint iambics that the full breeze wakens— 
But the pine tree makes a symphony thereof. 
Triolets, villanelles, rondels, rondeaus, 
Ballades by the score with the same old thought: 
The snows and the roses of yesterday are vanished; 
And what is love but a rose that fades? 
Life all around me here in the village: 
Tragedy, comedy, valor and truth, 
Courage, constancy, heroism, failure— 
All in the loom, and oh what patterns! 
Woodlands, meadows, streams and rivers— 
Blind to all of it all my life long. 
Triolets, villanelles, rondels, rondeaus, 
Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick, 
Tick, tick, tick, what little iambics, 
While Homer and Whitman roared in the pines?

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Poet Edgar Lee Masters 1868–1950

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

 Edgar Lee Masters

Biography

Edgar Lee Masters is best remembered for his great collection Spoon River Anthology, a sequence of over two hundred free-verse epitaphs spoken from the cemetery of the town of Spoon River. When the collection first saw publication in 1915, it caused a great sensation because of its forthrightness about sex, moral decay, and hypocrisy; but its cynical view of Midwestern small town values influenced a whole generation of writers . . .

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POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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