Mrs. Kessler

Original Text: 
Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology, illustrated by Oliver Herford (London: T. Werner Laurie, [1916]): 145. 8-NBI Masters New York Public Library
1Mr. Kessler, you know, was in the army,
2And he drew six dollars a month as a pension,
3And stood on the corner talking politics,
4Or sat at home reading Grant's Memoirs;
5And I supported the family by washing,
6Learning the secrets of all the people
7From their curtains, counterpanes, shirts and skirts.
8For things that are new grow old at length,
9They're replaced with better or none at all:
10People are prospering or falling back.
11And rents and patches widen with time;
12No thread or needle can pace decay,
13And there are stains that baffle soap,
14And there are colors that run in spite of you,
15Blamed though you are for spoiling a dress.
16Handkerchiefs, napery, have their secrets --
17The laundress, Life, knows all about it.
18And I, who went to all the funerals
19Held in Spoon River, swear I never
20Saw a dead face without thinking it looked
21Like something washed and ironed.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: