Verse > Edgar Lee Masters > Spoon River Anthology

Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950).  Spoon River Anthology.  1916.

37. Johnnie Sayre

FATHER, thou canst never know 
The anguish that smote my heart 
For my disobedience, the moment I felt 
The remorseless wheel of the engine 
Sink into the crying flesh of my leg.         5
As they carried me to the home of widow Morris 
I could see the school-house in the valley 
To which I played truant to steal rides upon the trains. 
I prayed to live until I could ask your forgiveness— 
And then your tears, your broken words of comfort!  10
From the solace of that hour I have gained infinite happiness. 
Thou wert wise to chisel for me: 
“Taken from the evil to come.” 



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