I went to the dances at Chandlerville, And played snap-out at Winchester. One time we changed partners, Driving home in the moonlight of middle June, And then I found Davis. We were married and lived together for seventy years, Enjoying, working, raising the twelve children, Eight of whom we lost Ere I had reached the age of sixty. I spun, I wove, I kept the house, I nursed the sick, I made the garden, and for holiday Rambled over the fields where sang the larks, And by Spoon River gathering many a shell, And many a flower and medicinal weed-- Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys. At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all, And passed to a sweet repose. What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness, Anger, discontent and drooping hopes? Degenerate sons and daughters, Life is too strong for you-- It takes life to love Life.
Jonas Keene thought his lot a hard one Because his children were all failures. But I know of a fate more trying than that: It is to be a failure while your children are successes. For I raised a brood of eagles Who flew away at last, leaving me A crow on the abandoned bough. Then, with the ambition to prefix Honorable to my name, And thus to win my children’s admiration, I ran for County Superintendent of Schools, Spending my accumulations to win—and lost. That fall my daughter received first prize in Paris For her picture, entitled, “The Old Mill”— (It was of the water mill before Henry Wilkin put in steam.) The feeling that I was not worthy of her finished me.