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    Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950)

              Griffy the Cooper

    THE cooper should know about tubs.
    But I learned about life as well,
    And you who loiter around these graves
    Think you know life.
    You think your eye sweeps about a wide horizon,
    In truth you are only looking around the interior
          of your tub.
    You cannot lift yourself to its rim
    And see the outer world of things,
    And at the same time see yourself.
    You are submerged in the tub of yourself —
    Taboos and rules and appearances,
    Are the staves of your tub.
    Break them and dispel the witchcraft
    Of thinking your tub is life!
    And that you know life!


The Spoon river Anthology poems originally appeared weekly in Reedy's Mirror beginning May 29, 1914. This poem can be found, for example, in:
  • Masters, Edgar Lee. Spoon River Anthology. New Edition with New Poems. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916.