|All photos courtesy of Bing. com|
Growing up in Illinois, I had studied about some of our state heroes: Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Edgar Lee Masters. A diverse group to be sure, each one had an impact on my thinking and writing.
|A performance of the play based on Spoon River Anthology|
|Masters' headstone, 1868 - 1950|
In the writing of my book, In Preacher’s Creek, I incorporated the cemetery as an active part of town life. Ancestry before, during, and after death were part of each person.
Edgar Lee Masters was born in 1868, lived a long productive life, was a contemporary of poets Carl Sandberg and Vachel Linsday, and died in 1950. There is so much that could be said of him and how he interpreted a life that spanned post-Civil War to post-World War II-- too much, really.
I have known the silence of the stars and of the sea,
And the silence of the city when it pauses,
And the silence of a man and a maid,
And the silence of the sick
When their eyes roam about the room.
Of what use is language?
A beast of the field moans a few times
When death takes its young.
And we are voiceless in the presence of realities--
We cannot speak....
Of the 213 characters in Spoon River Anthology, my favorite character is Lucinda Matlock, who says, “Degenerate sons and daughters, Life is too strong for you—It take life to love Life.”
Have you ever read this book? If so, which headstone would be yours?