I sat on the bank above Bernadotte
And dropped crumbs in the water,
Just to see the minnows bump each other,
Until the strongest got the prize.
Or I went to my little pasture,
Where the peaceful swine were asleep in the wallow,
Or nosing each other lovingly,
And emptied a basket of yellow corn,
And watched them push and squeal and bite,
And trample each other to get the corn.
And I saw how Christian Dallman’s farm,
Of more than three thousand acres,
Swallowed the patch of Felix Schmidt,
As a bass will swallow a minnow
And I say if there’s anything in man —
Spirit, or conscience, or breath of God
That makes him different from fishes or hogs,
I’d like to see it work!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edgar Lee Masters's poem Schroeder the Fisherman

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