City of Discontent: An Interpretive Biography of Vachel Lindsay, Being Also the Story of Springfield, Illinois, USA, and of the Love of the Poet for That City, That State and That Nation

City of Discontent: An Interpretive Biography of Vachel Lindsay, Being Also the Story of Springfield, Illinois, USA, and of the Love of the Poet for That City, That State and That Nation

City of Discontent: An Interpretive Biography of Vachel Lindsay, Being Also the Story of Springfield, Illinois, USA, and of the Love of the Poet for That City, That State and That Nation

City of Discontent: An Interpretive Biography of Vachel Lindsay, Being Also the Story of Springfield, Illinois, USA, and of the Love of the Poet for That City, That State and That Nation

Excerpt

A man lies dead on a marble table.

The first time Vachel saw a dead man naked on a marble table he swallowed hard and shut his eyes and steadied himself against a young man who a moment later fainted away, but now it is nothing, nothing at all. He has seen so many dead men that he has lost count. Dr. Page in his years at Hiram College has seen so many dead men that they are all one to him, and the students are all one, and this year and ever year the first time they meet death cold and naked face to face a few will totter in their tracks and one or two will fall to the floor.

By this time, he thinks, they should be able to tell with one swift glance at the man on the table what caused his hemorrhage. "Lindsay, cause of death?"

"Really Sir I haven't the vaguest idea," and the doctor takes it from there and asks Ross Butler and Ross Butler always knows, and Vachel prepares to concentrate on the answer Ross Butler gives, but by the time Ross Butler gives it he is lost again. Concentrate concentrate concentrate he tells himself, and sometimes he thinks it is no use at all he cannot concentrate.

The hands and forearms of the man on the table are dark. Above the elbows the arms whiten, and his chest is white except for the V at the neckline, and below the point of the V there is an incision and Vachel read last night in a materia medica what such an incision is called. There was a diagram with numbers and arrows and he studied it very carefully. He tries to call the diagram to mind because maybe Dr. Page will ask what do you call this incision why was it made. He thinks it would be a good idea to be able to answer Dr. Page once in a while because the doctor is a good and sincere and earnest fellow and materia medica such a nice sound like Il Penseroso hence vain deluding joys the brood of folly without father bred or is that L'Allegro. No. L'Allegro goes hence loathed a thing over the e hence loathed melancholy he has been reading too much . . .

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