Carl Sandburg: immediate heir to Walt Whitman

Poetry untethered by rhyme, meter or regular stanza patterns

  • Summer Stars
  • Bend low again, night of summer stars. 
  • So near you are, sky of summer stars, 
  • So near, a long-arm man can pick off stars, 
  • Pick off what he wants in the sky bowl, 
  • So near you are, summer stars, 
  • So near, strumming, strumming, 
  • So lazy and hum-strumming.
  • Sandpipers
  • Sandland where the salt water kills the sweet potatoes.
  • Homes for sandpipers—the script of their feet is on the sea shingles—they write in the
  • morning, it is gone at noon—they write at noon, it is gone at night.
  • Pity the land, the sea, the ten mile flats, pity anything but the sandpiper’s wire legs and
  • feet. 
  • Hats
  • Hats, where do you belong?
  • what is under you?
  • On the rim of a skyscraper’s forehead
  • I looked down and saw: hats: fifty thousand hats:
  • Swarming with a noise of bees and sheep, cattle and waterfalls,
  • Stopping with a silence of sea grass, a silence of prairie corn.
  • Hats: tell me your high hopes. 
  • Home Thoughts
  • The sea rocks have a green moss.
  • The pine rocks have red berries.
  • I have memories of you.
  • Speak to me of how you miss me.
  • Tell me the hours go long and slow.
  • Speak to me of the drag on your heart,
  • The iron drag of the long days.
  • I know hours empty as a beggar’s tin cup on a rainy day, empty as a soldier’s sleeve with
  • an arm lost.
  • Speak to me ... 

Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) was an American poet, and considered to be the immediate heir to the tradition of free verse – poetry untethered by rhyme, meter or regular stanza patterns – initiated by Walt Whitman. Besides poetry, Sandburg also is known for his popular biography of Abraham Lincoln, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1940 (he also won this prize for his Complete Poems in 1950). Like Whitman, he was considered in his day to be the official poetic spokesman for the United States, singing of the shacks and huts of the common man rather than of the stately and columned palaces and temples of the wealthy and powerful.

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