My parents thought that I would be
As great as Edison or greater:
For as a boy I made balloons
And wondrous kites and toys with clocks
And little engines with tracks to run on
And telephones of cans and thread.
I played the cornet and painted pictures,
Modeled in clay and took the part
Of the villain in the “Octoroon.”
But then at twenty-one I married
And had to live, and so, to live
I learned the trade of making watches
And kept the jewelry store on the square,
Thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking, —
Not of business, but of the engine
I studied the calculus to build.
And all Spoon River watched and waited
To see it work, but it never worked.
And a few kind souls believed my genius
Was somehow hampered by the store.
It wasn’t true. The truth was this:
I didn’t have the brains.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edgar Lee Masters's poem Walter Simmons

2 Comments

  1. colleen says:

    ah. . . it’s nice to see Spoon River Anthology again. Walter is one of the residents of a small town at the turn of the 20th century who has since passed on and is speaking to us from the dead. That’s the premise of the Anthology anyway. It’s a nice piece.

  2. Walter Simmmons says:

    That’s my name, Walter Simmons, who was the Walter Simmons that Edgar Lee Masters was writing about?

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