Saturday, April 30, 2005

Best advice I ever got from a literary character

She never minded admitting she didn't know something. So what, she thought; I could always learn.

--Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy


We'll officially be studying poetry for another week at least, but in deference to its being the last day of National Poetry Month, one of my favorite epitaphs from Spoon River Anthology:

MARGARET FULLER SLACK

I would have been as great as George Eliot
But for an untoward fate.
For look at the photograph of me made by Penniwit,
Chin resting on hand, and deep-set eyes--
Gray, too, and far-searching.
But there was the old, old problem:
Should it be celibacy, matrimony or unchastity?
Then John Slack, the rich druggist, wooed me,
Luring me with the promise of leisure for my novel,
And I married him, giving birth to eight children,
And had no time to write.
It was all over with me, anyway,
When I ran the needle in my hand
While washing the baby's things,
And died from lock-jaw, an ironical death.
Hear me, ambitious souls,
Sex is the curse of life!

--Edgar Lee Masters


Via Tingle Alley, a compilation of poetry used in movies from the Michigan Quarterly Review.

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