Carl Sandburg
  • Carl Sandburg
  • Ten minutes now I have been looking at this.
  • I have gone by here before and wondered about it.
  • This is a bronze memorial of a famous general
  • Riding horseback with a flag and a sword and a revolver on him.
  • I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to be hauled away to the
  • crap yard.
  • I put it straight to you,
  • After the farmer, the miner, the shop man, the factory hand, the fireman
  • and the teamster,
  • Have all been remembered with bronze memorials,
  • Shaping them on the job of getting all of us
  • Something to eat and something to wear,
  • When they stack a few silhouettes
  •            Against the sky
  •           Here in the park,
  • And show the real huskies that are doing the work of the world, and
  • feeding people instead of butchering them,
  • Then maybe I will stand here
  • And look easy at this general of the army holding a flag in the air,
  • And riding like hell on horseback
  • Ready to kill anybody that gets in his way,
  • Ready to run the red blood and slush the bowels of men all over
  • the sweet new grass of the prairie.


Carl Sandburg (1878–1967) was the son of poor Swedish immigrants who settled in Illinois. After serving in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War, he entered Lombard College where, in 1904, with encouragement and financial help from professor Philip Green Wright, he self-published his first collection of poetry, Reckless Ecstasy. After college he married Lillian Steichen, the sister of the photographer Edward Steichen, and began working for the Social-Democrat Party in Wisconsin. After moving to Chicago, Sandburg became an editorial writer for the Chicago Daily News. With his first full collection, Chicago Poems, he began establishing his reputation as a plain-spoken but powerful American poet deeply concerned about social justice. In the 1920s, Sandburg wrote and published his monumental six-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln as well as his first collection of American folk ballads, The American Songbag. On periodic trips around the country, Sandburg would play his banjo and guitar, sing folk songs, and recite his poetry. He won a Pulitzer Prize for Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (1939) and another Pulitzer for his Collected Poems in 1950.

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Comments

nan shartel Feb. 13, 2012 @ 10:34 p.m.

love Sandburg's sparse literal and opposing dichotomy of thought in this one

thx Reader

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