Edmund Pollard
Edgar Lee Masters

  
I would I had thrust my hands of flesh
Into the disk-flowers bee-infested,
Into the mirror-like core of fire
Of the light of life, the sun of delight.
For what are anthers worth or petals
Or halo-rays? Mockeries, shadows
Of the heart of the flower, the central flame!
All is yours, young passer-by;
Enter the banquet room with the thought;
Don't sidle in as if you were doubtful
Whether you're welcome--the feast is yours!
Nor take but a little, refusing more
With a bashful "Thank you," when you're hungry.
Is your soul alive? Then let it feed!
Leave no balconies where you can climb;
Nor milk-white bosoms where you can rest;
Nor golden heads with pillows to share;
Nor wine cups while the wine is sweet;
Nor ecstasies of body or soul,
You will die, no doubt, but die while living
In depths of azure, rapt and mated,
Kissing the queen-bee, Life!

Edgar Lee Masters
from Spoon River Anthology


   

If you've never read the Spoon River Anthology, I'd recommend it.  In this work, Edgar Lee Masters has written a series of over a hundred poems just like the one above--explorations of just what people had in life that made them happy or miserable, of how they approached life and other people and their jobs, of how they reacted to other people's actions.

What sets this work apart from others is its focus--the poems are written from the perspectives of people whose names appear on the imaginary tombstones of the Spoon River cemetery.  They're all dead now, talking to us from beyond the grave, blaming their unhappy lives on other people or circumstances, pointing fingers at people who might have hurt them, revealing just what it was about their perspective that allowed them to be happy.  In each of the characters you can see traces of all the people who surround you, and sometimes it's uplifting, sometimes extremely sad to see how people lived their lives, often wasting away their days focusing on hatred or anger or resentment.

The question to ask yourself as you read it, of course, is simple:  am I on the road to end up feeling like this after I die?  Would my words from beyond the grave be words of regret and hostility, or will I be happy about what I've done, with no regrets and no hostility towards other people?

The Spoon River Anthology is available for just $1 from Dover Books--ask for the Dover Thrift Edition.  It's easy reading--don't try to read it all at one sitting.  Read a poem or three and think, feel, relate.  Notice the fascinating way that Masters shows the relationships between the people in town--the self-satisfaction of Thomas Rhodes, the miserable death of one of Rhodes' employees, who considered himself "Rhodes' slave."  It's a fascinating book, and a revealing look at what goes on in our minds as we go through life.  Most of all, look for those who have no regrets, who think more of their happiness than anything else.  There are lessons in the work for us all, if we just look for them.

  


 
quotations - contents - welcome page - obstacles
our current e-zine - the people behind the words - articles and excerpts
Daily Meditations, Year One - Year Two - Year Three - Year Four
     

Sign up for your free daily spiritual or general quotation
~ ~ Sign up for your free daily meditation

   

  
tm

All contents Living Life Fully, all rights reserved.

   

We have some inspiring and motivational books that may interest you.  Our main way of supporting this site is through the sale of books, either physical copies or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle (including the online reader).  All of the money that we earn through them comes back to the site in one way or another.  Just click on the picture to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and non-fiction!

   

      

Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.

     

Explore all of our quotations pages--these links will take you to the first page of each topic, and those pages will contain links to any additional pages on the same topic.

HOME - contents - Daily Meditations - abundance - acceptance - achievement - action - adversity
advertising - aging - ambition- anger - anticipation - anxiety - apathy - appreciation - arrogance
art - attitude - authenticity - awakening - awareness - awe - balance - beauty - being yourself
beliefs - body - brooding - busyness - caring - celebration - challenges -
change - character
charity - children - choices - Christianity - coincidence - commitment - common sense - community
comparison
- compassion - competition - complaining - compliments - compromise - confidence
conformity - conscience - contentment - control - cooperation - courage -
covetousness
creativity - crisis - criticism - cruelty -  death - decisions - desire - determination - disappointment
discipline - discouragement - diversity - doubt - dreams - earth - education - ego - emotions
encouragement - enlightenment - enthusiasm - envy - eternity - ethics - example - exercise
experience - failure - faith - fame - family - fate - fathers - fault-finding - fear - feelings - finances
flowers - forgiveness - freedom - friendship - frustration - fun - the future - garden of life - gardening
generosity - gentleness - giving - goals - God - goodness - grace - gratitude - greatness - greed - grief
growing up - guilt - habit - happiness - hatred - healing - health - heart - helpfulness - home
honesty - hope - hospitality - humility - hurry - ideals - identity - idleness  - idolatry - ignorance
illusion - imagination - impatience - individuality - the inner child - inspiration - integrity - intimacy
introspection - intuition - jealousy - journey of life - joy - judgment - karma - kindness - knowledge
language - laughter - laziness - leadership - learning - letting go - life - listening - loneliness
love - lying - magic - marriage - materialism - meanness - meditation - mindfulness - miracles
mistakes - mistrust - moderation - money - mothers - motivation - music - mystery - nature
negative attitude - now - oneness - open-mindedness - opportunity - optimism - pain - parenting
passion - the past - patience - peace - perfectionism - perseverance - perspective - pessimism
play - poetry - positive thoughts - possessions - potential - poverty - power - praise - prayer
prejudice - pride - principle - problems - progress - prosperity - purpose - racism - reading -recreation
reflection - relationships - religion - reputation - resentment - respect - responsibility - rest
revenge - risk - role models - running - ruts - sadness - safety - seasons of life - self - self-love
self-pity - self-reliance - self-respect selfishness - serving others - shame - silence - simplicity
slowing down - smiles -solitude - sorrow - spirit - stories - strength - stress - stupidity - success
suffering - talent - the tapestry of life - teachers - thoughts - time - today - tolerance - traditions
trees - trust - truth - unfulfilled dreams - values - vanity - virtue - vulnerability - walking - war
wealth - weight issues - wisdom - women - wonder - work - worry - worship - youth - Zen sayings

spring
- summer - fall - winter
Christmas - Thanksgiving - New Year - America
Native American wisdom - The Law of Attraction
obstacles to living life fully - e-zine archives - quotations contents
our most recent e-zine - Great Thinkers - the people behind the words - articles & excerpts