1 2 3 4  6
Comment 11 of 51, added on May 5th, 2009 at 11:34 PM.
In George Gray by Edgar Lee Masters, Masters describes real life through a
psychological experience. Masters is known for writing epitaphs to show the
hidden side of American life. Epitaphs are normally short text on a
gravestone for a deceased person. Throughout the poem there is no sense of
rhyming words, more of a free verse tone. Also in the poem is an analogy,
the boat at rest in the harbor is compared to the man who has had their
entire life set up for him. Another reference to the predetermined life
located in the second line when the marble which was already chiseled for
him. The man was suppose to live out his predetermined life yet has a zest
for life and wants to take the “winds of fate”.
Brittany Celani from United States
Comment 10 of 51, added on September 8th, 2008 at 10:21 PM.
Greetings --I am a descendant of George Gray. He was my great grandpa and
a very deep thinker. He lost my great grandma around the same time he lost
their last born daughter. The poem is pretty accurate in the fact that
George had some serious trials in his life. He is originally from
Galesburg and did a variety of things for labor..one of which was working
the Mighty Mississippi as a River Boat Capt. I followed in his footsteps
about 150 years later. George was born and died between 1865? and 1938.
His birthdate is fuzzy. He knew about the revolutionary war from his
father but did not have to fight in the civil war. He loved my Grandma
Elizabeth dearly..and they had a few children together...but the last
daughter was born and shortly thereafter she got pneumonia from
complications in pregnancy and died. My grandma already had 4 children in
a short time: The five year old -- who was the a daughter who passed - My
Uncle Willard, Aunt Mildred and my grandpa, Ernest L. Gray. All his
children moved to the Monmouth/Kirkwood, Illinois area and lived out their
lives there ..not too far at all from Spoon River and The Hill where George
is buried. George was a quiet but strong man..always pondering something..
But never quite the same after my great grandma passed away. I put these
puzzle pieces together in 1986 in college after reading Masters for
Composition I. Of course, I AM a Gray and got curious.. and found out..HOLY
COW! This is my great grandfather! My grandpa Ernie (George’s son) had my
mom when he was 42...My Grandpa Ernie was born in 1898. My mom is turning
69 and I am turning 41 in Feb and have no children. There are no other
Grays from the Spoon river area that are living excecpt for my mom and me.
There was a very large age difference between George and Elizabeth that I
can tell... She was his first wife. The marble that he studied many times
in the poem is going to visit Elizabeth’s grave once a week for several
years. The unfurled sail refers to Elizabeth's young life being taken at
such a young age...and that she didn't have much time on the earth to see
the world. For love was offered me and I shrank from its
disillusionment...is her death personified here. Edgar Lee Masters wrote
about real people that were recognizable...and he sure must have known
George pretty well! Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid... George
was afraid that his life would collapse as a single father with no one to
help him. He would never marry again...but came to the realization that we
all must lift the sail, go with destiny and have the desire to move onward
and upward. He was a tortured man in the sense that she was his soulmate.
George was a poet himself and wrote poetry to get his grief out... he about
went mad..thus the line: To put meaning in one’s life may end in
I've been meaning for years and years to get this story out about my great
grandfather and Edgar Lee Masters... what inspired me to do this tonight is
that my brother… who is not a Gray.. bought a house on Spoon Lake..near
Spoon River… Spoon River is in my blood, like the Mississippi.. the raging
water, the lazy days of mosquitoes on their banks..and the people who my
family called friends now and back a century and something ago. George
Gray’s headstone says, “husband and loving father” and he is buried next
to his wife. He is an ancestor that I remember and whose name I wear with
pride.. A poem that personifies his life as a single father, a widower and
a passionate man who had integrity and depth of soul ...much like Masters
who wrote about him... Even though they both lay sleeping, sleeping, on
that hill… their memories are as alive as they were right now…as I tell all
who read this the truth about George Gray..otherwise known as “My Poppy”
Peace to All – Megan C. Gray Carter
Megan C. Gray - Descendent of George Gray
from United States
Comment 9 of 51, added on May 27th, 2007 at 10:17 PM.
I'm doing my project on Masters, im only 15, and i have to choose the most
meaningful work he made i chose this one because it is something deep that
everyone can relate to at one point or another and that is my philosophy of
life : "live life to the fullest"
from United States
Comment 8 of 51, added on January 21st, 2006 at 10:24 PM.
The poem was given to me about 36 years ago by a dear friend in the US.It
contains the fears of every thinking person.Whether one is
rich,poor,healthy or not this poem reflects the very essence of life.Yet,on
the other hand,we must have order in our society,so how far does one push
the concept of "doing what one wants"?
Having said that,would'nt it be sad if we woke up one day and realised we
were now too old to do whatever it is one had longed to do?
Mervyn from Australia
Comment 7 of 51, added on January 8th, 2006 at 2:14 AM.
I have had various copies of this poem, both hand written and typed for
around 20 years. I have always loved this poem. It had been a source of
deep meaning and inspiration not to let my life just pass me by because of
fear. I continue to pull courage from it. I was so delighted to do a web
search for this and find it so easily. I was curious if I had kept correct
coppies of this poem since it had been since High School. I am happy to
find that I have. I will continue to share this poem with my friends and
family as I have for many years now. I hope others share the deep
connection with it that I have.
from United States
Comment 6 of 51, added on October 14th, 2005 at 12:13 PM.
i have 2 analyse this poem also, i need 2 understand what it means!!
John from United States
Comment 5 of 51, added on September 10th, 2005 at 7:24 AM.
Last time I was in a hurry but I would like to add a few more remarks about
this poem. First of all the speaker is one of the dead people buried in the
small graveyard of Spoon River: I think the idea of giving voice to dead
people is very unusual and original since these are people who can comment
on the WHOLE of their lives, who can evaluate if these lives were spent
well of badly. In the first line the spaker says he's often studied the
marble which was created for him, "a boat" at rest in a harbour. The
people/person who chieseled this "marble" probably meant to symbolize
Gray's final destination, the eternal peace of death, but to Gray himself
this marble means something totally different - this boat, still and quiet,
appears to him the metaphor of his life. He realizes he's always withdrawn
from everything which could cause great changes in his life - love, sorrow
(feelings), ambition. Now that he's dead, Gray admits his life may have
been quiet and safe, but unfortunately not satisfactory (he says "all the
while I HUNGERED - longed- for meaning in my life") because he refused to
live fully , to accept the aspects of human experience that GIVE LIFE A
MEANING, make it worth living, and make human beings more complete,
fulfilled and richer. This poem reminds me of a statement by Henry David
Thoreau which is quoted in the movie "Dead Poets'Society"( unforgettable!)
and which deals more or less with the same topic (life/death): "I went to
the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and
suck out all the marrow of life, to put to rout all that was not life and
not when i had come to die discover that I had not lived".
Emanuela from Italy
Comment 4 of 51, added on September 8th, 2005 at 11:54 AM.
I think my opinion will come too late. I love this poem very much, it was
love at first sight when I first read it. It is the metaphor of an
adventurous journey which unfortunately was not taken. Everybody's life is
a journey, but George Gray's life was a journey not taken. When you travel
you may have a lot of exciting experiences but you may also run risks and
this was something something he refused to do. I think Gray's life must
have been very boring.
Comment 3 of 51, added on September 5th, 2005 at 10:06 PM.
I think its a man reflecting on his life and comparing it to the ship
moored in the harbour. He equates his life as chisled in Marble -
something that we should never be. (Clay - is the best medium for the
molding of a great life.) He had chances and choices in life, but he didn't
risk it. He didn't take the road less travelled. He played it safe and
didn't risk his heart or his talents to reach out to life, to follow where
taking these risks would lead him. His fear stopped him from living life
FULLY and he regretted it. In the end he realized his error. His message to
me is: Take a risk, live life to the fullest and go where it leads you.
Don't be afraid to love even if it ends in pain, don't be afraid to take
chances, even if there's potential to fail. Make plans, Dream dreams and
live each day like you were dying.
Comment 2 of 51, added on May 2nd, 2005 at 10:07 PM.
The Poem was written from the perspective of a man who has died and is
looking back on his life with a fearfull realization that durring his life
he thought he was going somewhere, only to realize that in the end he never
accomplished anything, never took the risks necesary to create a
meaningfull life. It is a poem that has haunted me my whole life. The fear
of leading a Meaningless life scares me!
from United States
This poem has been commented on more than 10 times. Click below to see the other comments.
1 2 3 4  6