a broken laugh & not a single regret.

I started graduate school this week, and I love it so far. Engaging professors who model what good teaching looks like, smart fellow students, and cherry trees blossoming on campus. [I know that’s a fragment, and I’m leaving it. So there!] Phil and I are having lunch tomorrow on campus, and he suggested we wear tweed & discuss tenure. Aah, the joys of being back in school.

Yesterday, at the end of class, one of my favorite professors mentioned the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Master. Published in 1915, the book was a commercial success despite (perhaps because of) its highly unusual content and form. The Spoon River Anthology is a fictional collection of epitaphs of the residents of a small town. It shatters the myths of small town life, particularly those that were in existence in the early 20th century, and it requires judicious reading. Like a sleuth, you can determine who’s related to whom and meaningful relationships between the characters by reading closely.

My professor read the end of this poem by the character Fiddler Jones yesterday. I hope this poem helps start your day on the right foot. I’m loving this teaching program so far- no regrets! xo, m

THE EARTH keeps some vibration going
There in your heart, and that is you.
And if the people find you can fiddle,
Why, fiddle you must, for all your life.
What do you see, a harvest of clover?
Or a meadow to walk through to the river?
The wind’s in the corn; you rub your hands
For beeves hereafter ready for market;
Or else you hear the rustle of skirts
Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove.
To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust
Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;
They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy
Stepping it off, to “Toor-a-Loor.”
How could I till my forty acres
Not to speak of getting more,
With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos
Stirred in my brain by crows and robins
And the creak of a wind-mill—only these?
And I never started to plow in my life
That some one did not stop in the road
And take me away to a dance or picnic.
I ended up with forty acres;
I ended up with a broken fiddle—
And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,
And not a single regret.

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One thought on “a broken laugh & not a single regret.

  1. Wow, it’s been forever since I read the Spoon River Anthology. I’d forgotten what good stuff it is. Thanks for the reminder!

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