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Best Famous Carl Sandburg Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Carl Sandburg poems. This is a select list of the best famous Carl Sandburg poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Carl Sandburg poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Carl Sandburg poems.

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by Carl Sandburg | |

Slippery

 THE SIX month child
Fresh from the tub
Wriggles in our hands.
This is our fish child.
Give her a nickname: Slippery.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Smoke

 I SIT in a chair and read the newspapers.
Millions of men go to war, acres of them are buried, guns and ships broken, cities burned, villages sent up in smoke, and children where cows are killed off amid hoarse barbecues vanish like finger-rings of smoke in a north wind.
I sit in a chair and read the newspapers.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Lost

 DESOLATE and lone
All night long on the lake
Where fog trails and mist creeps,
The whistle of a boat
Calls and cries unendingly,
Like some lost child
In tears and trouble
Hunting the harbor's breast
And the harbor's eyes.


by Carl Sandburg | |

The Road and the End

 I SHALL foot it
Down the roadway in the dusk,
Where shapes of hunger wander
And the fugitives of pain go by.
I shall foot it In the silence of the morning, See the night slur into dawn, Hear the slow great winds arise Where tall trees flank the way And shoulder toward the sky.
The broken boulders by the road Shall not commemorate my ruin.
Regret shall be the gravel under foot.
I shall watch for Slim birds swift of wing That go where wind and ranks of thunder Drive the wild processionals of rain.
The dust of the traveled road Shall touch my hands and face.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Grass

 PILE the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work— I am the grass; I cover all.
And pile them high at Gettysburg And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor: What place is this? Where are we now? I am the grass.
Let me work.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Fog

 THE fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Happiness

 I ASKED the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though I was trying to fool with them And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along the Desplaines river And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with their women and children and a keg of beer and an accordion.


by Carl Sandburg | |

The Junk Man

 I AM glad God saw Death
And gave Death a job taking care of all who are tired
of living:

When all the wheels in a clock are worn and slow and
the connections loose
And the clock goes on ticking and telling the wrong time
from hour to hour
And people around the house joke about what a bum
clock it is,
How glad the clock is when the big Junk Man drives
his wagon
Up to the house and puts his arms around the clock and
says:
"You don't belong here,
You gotta come
Along with me,"
How glad the clock is then, when it feels the arms of the
Junk Man close around it and carry it away.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Jazz Fantasia

 DRUM on your drums, batter on your banjoes, sob on the long cool winding saxophones.
Go to it, O jazzmen.
Sling your knuckles on the bottoms of the happy tin pans, let your trombones ooze, and go hushahusha-hush with the slippery sand-paper.
Moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome tree-tops, moan soft like you wanted somebody terrible, cry like a racing car slipping away from a motorcycle cop, bang-bang! you jazzmen, bang altogether drums, traps, banjoes, horns, tin cans—make two people fight on the top of a stairway and scratch each other’s eyes in a clinch tumbling down the stairs.
Can the rough stuff … now a Mississippi steamboat pushes up the night river with a hoo-hoo-hoo-oo … and the green lanterns calling to the high soft stars … a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills … go to it, O jazzmen.


by Carl Sandburg | |

The Harbor

 PASSING through huddled and ugly walls
By doorways where women
Looked from their hunger-deep eyes,
Haunted with shadows of hunger-hands,
Out from the huddled and ugly walls,
I came sudden, at the city's edge,
On a blue burst of lake,
Long lake waves breaking under the sun
On a spray-flung curve of shore;
And a fluttering storm of gulls,
Masses of great gray wings
And flying white bellies
Veering and wheeling free in the open


by Carl Sandburg | |

Bones

 Sling me under the sea.
Pack me down in the salt and wet.
No farmer's plow shall touch my bones.
No Hamlet hold my jaws and speak How jokes are gone and empty is my mouth.
Long, green-eyed scavengers shall pick my eyes, Purple fish play hide-and-seek, And I shall be song of thunder, crash of sea, Down on the floors of salt and wet.
Sling me .
.
.
under the sea.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Hate

 ONE man killed another.
The saying between them had been “I’d give you the shirt off my back.
” The killer wept over the dead.
The dead if he looks back knows the killer was sorry.
It was a shot in one second of hate out of ten years of love.
Why is the sun a red ball in the six o’clock mist? Why is the moon a tumbling chimney?… tumbling … tumbling … “I’d give you the shirt off my back” … And I’ll kill you if my head goes wrong.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Joy

 Let a joy keep you.
Reach out your hands And take it when it runs by, As the Apache dancer Clutches his woman.
I have seen them Live long and laugh loud, Sent on singing, singing, Smashed to the heart Under the ribs With a terrible love.
Joy always, Joy everywhere-- Let joy kill you! Keep away from the little deaths.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Alley Rats

 THEY were calling certain styles of whiskers by the name of “lilacs.
” And another manner of beard assumed in their chatter a verbal guise Of “mutton chops,” “galways,” “feather dusters.
” Metaphors such as these sprang from their lips while other street cries Sprang from sparrows finding scattered oats among interstices of the curb.
Ah-hah these metaphors—and Ah-hah these boys—among the police they were known As the Dirty Dozen and their names took the front pages of newspapers And two of them croaked on the same day at a “necktie party” … if we employ the metaphors of their lips.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Bricklayer Love

 I THOUGHT of killing myself because I am only a bricklayer and you a woman who loves the man who runs a drug store.
I don’t care like I used to; I lay bricks straighter than I used to and I sing slower handling the trowel afternoons.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Buckwheat

 1THERE was a late autumn cricket,
And two smoldering mountain sunsets
Under the valley roads of her eyes.
There was a late autumn cricket, A hangover of summer song, Scraping a tune Of the late night clocks of summer, In the late winter night fireglow, This in a circle of black velvet at her neck.
2In pansy eyes a flash, a thin rim of white light, a beach bonfire ten miles across dunes, a speck of a fool star in night’s half circle of velvet.
In the corner of the left arm a dimple, a mole, a forget-me-not, and it fluttered a hummingbird wing, a blur in the honey-red clover, in the honey-white buckwheat.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Buttons

 I HAVE been watching the war map slammed up for
advertising in front of the newspaper office.
Buttons--red and yellow buttons--blue and black buttons-- are shoved back and forth across the map.
A laughing young man, sunny with freckles, Climbs a ladder, yells a joke to somebody in the crowd, And then fixes a yellow button one inch west And follows the yellow button with a black button one inch west.
(Ten thousand men and boys twist on their bodies in a red soak along a river edge, Gasping of wounds, calling for water, some rattling death in their throats.
) Who would guess what it cost to move two buttons one inch on the war map here in front of the newspaper office where the freckle-faced young man is laughing to us?


by Carl Sandburg | |

Child Moon

 The child's wonder
At the old moon
Comes back nightly.
She points her finger To the far silent yellow thing Shining through the branches Filtering on the leaves a golden sand, Crying with her little tongue, "See the moon!" And in her bed fading to sleep With babblings of the moon on her little mouth.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Child of the Romans

 THE dago shovelman sits by the railroad track
Eating a noon meal of bread and bologna.
A train whirls by, and men and women at tables Alive with red roses and yellow jonquils, Eat steaks running with brown gravy, Strawberries and cream, eclaires and coffee.
The dago shovelman finishes the dry bread and bologna, Washes it down with a dipper from the water-boy, And goes back to the second half of a ten-hour day's work Keeping the road-bed so the roses and jonquils Shake hardly at all in the cut glass vases Standing slender on the tables in the dining cars.


by Carl Sandburg | |

Languages

 THERE are no handles upon a language
Whereby men take hold of it
And mark it with signs for its remembrance.
It is a river, this language, Once in a thousand years Breaking a new course Changing its way to the ocean.
It is mountain effluvia Moving to valleys And from nation to nation Crossing borders and mixing.
Languages die like rivers.
Words wrapped round your tongue today And broken to shape of thought Between your teeth and lips speaking Now and today Shall be faded hieroglyphics Ten thousand years from now.
Sing--and singing--remember Your song dies and changes And is not here to-morrow Any more than the wind Blowing ten thousand years ago.