10.29.2008

'The Spooniad'

Outside the first chilling temps of fall and a lulling rain marked the moment I finished Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology.” The same pervasive and palatable atmosphere hung over “The Hill” as I stepped away from the graves there.

From that Spoon River, Illinois, cemetery Masters’ 244 townsfolk had spoken their epitaphs, and I left the souls there to rest in peace.

In them, I had seen myself and so many others.

This singular work won Masters highest praise in the poetry genre. More than poetry, this series of simple tales, spoken by the dead and woven together, capture from another era small-town life and morals, or the lack thereof.

In the book’s finale, “The Spooniad,“ Masters cleverly allows his fictional character Jonathan Swift Somers, to leave behind “a fragment” of what was intended to be a 24-volume epic showing that the entangled lives of simple folk can reach Homeric heights.

One of the themes from beyond the veil of death was the greed and deception which led to the collapse of the town’s bank.

In “The Spooniad,” the fictional Somers writes:

“ … and the fall Of Rhodes, bank that brought unnumbered woes and loss to many, with engendered hate
that flamed into the torch in Anarch hands to burn the courthouse, on whose blackened wreck a fairer temple rose and Progress stood.”

Greed, deception, bank collapse. Unnumbered woes and loss.

The tales are timeless. That’s what makes a classic a classic.

***

Happy Birthday, Frodo, hobbit, lover of words, Keeper of the Ring!

4 comments:

Jan said...

And some people are just now catching onto the fact that our bail-out tax money is paying bonuses! Got an eamail earlier about "...that makes me mad." Yet, she rushed home from group one night to "hear my Sarah." Wonder if she will vote for McCain/Palin now! I sent her an article that will probably put her knickers in a worse wad.

Will be glad when this election is over! So tired of all the tripe.

Thanks for keeping us informed. We appreciate all your time and work.

Eowyn said...

I will tomorrow go and get that book. I need some measure. The election is a thorn in my side, but only because it is indicative of the greater ill. I don't know how I've gotten so caught up in it this year. I do know that whoever wins I must go back into my life--MY LIFE--and sort out.

Happy Birthday, Frodo, you were almost a Halloween Baby.

Frodo, Keeper of the Ring said...

Frodo delayed his gratitude for this wonderful gift, and he is pleased that he did so. His birthday now bears a new significance, and one important moment revolved around the Cemetery in Tom's Brook, Virginia. Funny it is, how the true artistry of life is the compassion at its' core.

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