to what we never tried

Someday, you’ll be like me,
you know.
Like all of us down here.

Down here…

We all rot in the end.

Unless you’re thinking
of cremation
or being shot into space

I hear those are “things” these days.

These days…

What year is it, anyway?
Not that time matters
forever ‘neath the ground

So there’s that – a plus, if you will.

If you will…

I know you once willed death,
and dreamt that lying eternally still
would be a world of improvement.

Trust me – it’s not.

It’s not…

At least not yet – for You.
You have a reality to roam…
bigger than you can imagine.

Now, my world is 84″ x 28″ x 23″
and 6 feet underground.

Underground…

With so limited a vista,
no wonder I haunt you!
I’ve nothing better to do.

You. Still. Do.

Do. You…

Don’t wait until life is measured
in inches and feet.
Oh, I’m sorry, did I say “life”?

Life is not what we measure down here.

Down here…

We hold the ruler up to what we never tried.


Today, I’d like to challenge you to read a few of the poems from Spoon River Anthology, and then write your own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead. Not a famous person, necessarily – perhaps a remembered acquaintance from your childhood, like the gentleman who ran the shoeshine stand, or one of your grandmother’s bingo buddies. As with Masters’ poems, the monologue doesn’t have to be a recounting of the person’s whole life, but could be a fictional remembering of some important moment, or statement of purpose or philosophy. Be as dramatic as you like – Masters’ certainly didn’t shy away from high emotion in writing his poems.

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