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Selected Poems of Carl Sandburg (1920s)Chicago

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  • Selected Poems of Carl Sandburg

  • The poems in this volume are copyrighted as follows: CHICAGOPOEMS, copyright, 1916, by Henry Holt and Company; CORNHUSKEHS,copyright, 1918, by Henry Holt and Company; SMOKE AND STEEL,copyright, 1920, by Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc.; SLABS OF THESUNBURNT WEST, copyright, 1922, by Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc.The poems are here reprinted by permission of the copyright holders,by whom all rights are reserved.

    COPYRIGHT, 1926, WHARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANT, INC.

    B7-S7

  • Contents

    From CHICAGO POEMSPACK

    1. CHICAGO 292. LOST 313. THE HARBOUR 324. THE SHOVEL MAN 335. A TEAMSTER'S FAREWELL 346. FISH CRIER 357. PICNIC BOAT 368. HAPPINESS 379. MUCKERS 38

    10. BLACKLISTED 3911. CHILD OF THE ROMANS 4012. THE RIGHT TO GRIEF 4113. MAG 4314. ONION DAYS 4415. A FENCE 461 6. WORKING GIRLS 4717. MAMIE 481 8. PERSONALITY 4919. CUMULATIVES 5O20. THE HAS-BEEN 5!21. ICE HANDLER 5222. JACK 5323. FELLOW-CITIZENS 5424. TO A CONTEMPORARY BUNKSHOOTER 56

    7

  • ContentsFAGS

    25. SKYSCRAPER 6026. FOG 6427. GRAVES 6528. AZTEC MASK 6629. SHIRT 6730. AZTEC 6831. THEME IN YELLOW 6932. HARRISON STREET COURT 7033. SOILED DOVE 7134. JUNGHEIMER'S 7235. GONE 7336. THE JUNK MAN 74

    From CORNHUSKERS37. PRAIRIE 7538. RIVER ROADS 8539. PRAIRIE WATERS BY NIGHT 8640. EARLY MOON 8741. LAUGHING CORN 8842. FALLTIME 8943. ILLINOIS FARMER 9044. HITS AND RUNS 9 145- VILLAGE IN LATE SUMMER 9246. SUNSET FROM OMAHA HOTEL WINDOW 9347. STILL LIFE 9448. BAND CONCERT 9549. THREE PIECES ON THE SMOKE OF AUTUMN 9650. LOCALITIES 98

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  • Contents

    51. CABOOSE THOUGHTS IOO52. POTATO BLOSSOM SONGS AND JIGS IO253. MANITOBA CHILDE ROLAND 1 0754. WILDERNESS IIO55. CHICAGO POET 11256. MEMOIR OF A PROUD BOY 11357. BILBEA 11558. SOUTHERN PACIFIC Il659. PORTRAIT OF A MOTOR CAR 11760. BUFFALO BILL Il861. SINGING NIGGER IK)62. ALWAYS THE MOB I2O63. INTERIOR 122

    64. PALLADIUMS 12565. CLOCKS 12666. PSALM OF THOSE WHO GO FORTH BEFORE

    DAYLIGHT 12767. HORSES AND MEN IN RAIN 12868. NEAR KEOKUK I2Q69. SLANTS AT BUFFALO, NEW YORK. 13070. FLAT LANDS 13!71. JOLIET 13272. THE SEA HOLD 13373. BRICKLAYER LOVE 13474. ASHURNATSIRPAL HI 13575. MAMMY HUMS 13676. COOL TOMBS 13877. SHENANDOAH 139

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  • ContentsPACE

    78. GRASS I4O79. OLD TIMERS 14!80. HOUSE 142

    From SMOKE AND STEEL81. SMOKE AND STEEL 14382. FIVE TOWNS ON THE B. AND O. 15!83. WORK GANGS 15284. PENNSYLVANIA 15485. WHIRLS 15586. PEOPLE WHO MUST 15687. ALLEY RATS 15788. ELEVENTH AVENUE RACKET 15889. HOME FIRES 15990. HATS 1 6091. THEY ALL WANT TO PLAY HAMLET l6l92. THE MAYOR OF GARY 1 6293. OMAHA 16394- REAL ESTATE NEWS 16495. MANUAL SYSTEM 16596. HONKY TONK IN CLEVELAND, OHIO 1 6697. CRAPSHOOTERS 16798. BOY AND FATHER 1 6899. CLEAN CURTAINS 171

    100. NEIGHBOURS 172101. CAHOOTS 173102. BLUE MAROONS 174103. THE HANGMAN AT HOME 175

    10

  • ContentsFAG*

    104. MAN, THE MAN-HUNTER 1 76105. THE SINS OF KALAMAZOO 1771 06. BROKEN-FACE GARGOYLES 183107. APRONS OF SILENCE 1851 08. DEATH SNIPS PROUD MEN 1 86lOQ. GOOD NIGHT 187110. SHIRT 1 88111. JAZZ FANTASIA 189112. PURPLE MARTINS I9O113. MASK 192114. FOUR PRELUDES ON PLAYTHINGS OF THE

    WIND 193115. OSSAWATOMIE 1 96I 1 6. LONG GUNS 198117. THE LAWYERS KNOW TOO MUCH 199I I 8. LOSERS 2O I119. THREES 2O3120. BAS-RELIEF 2O4121. KILLERS 205122. THREE GHOSTS 2O6123. JUG 207124. HOODLUMS 208125. SLIPPERY 2IO126. BABY TOES 211

    127. SLEEPYHEADS 212128. HALF MOON IN A HIGH WIND 213129. REMORSE 214130. LAUGHING BLUE STEEL 215

    II

  • ContentsPACK

    131. SANDHILL PEOPLE 2l6

    132. ACCOMPLISHED FACTS 21 7133. TRINITY PEACE 219134. PORTRAIT 22O

    135. CUPS OF COFFEE 221

    136. NIGHT MOVEMENT NEW YORK 223137. STREETS TOO OLD 224138. MOHAMMED BEN HADJETLACHE 225139. BALTIC FOG NOTES 227140. CIRCLES OF DOORS 229141. TWO STRANGERS BREAKFAST 230142. CURSE OF A RICH POLISH PEASANT 231143. AN ELECTRIC SIGN GOES DARK 232144. THEN BUY WITH AN EYE TO LOOKS 234145. PROUD AND BEAUTIFUL 235146. PUT OFF THE WEDDING FIVE TIMES 236147. BABY VAMPS 238148. VAUDEVILLE DANCER 239149. BALLOON FACES 240150. HAZE 242J5I. BUFFALO DUSK 245152. BRANCHES 246

    'From SLABS OF THE SUNBURNT WEST153. THE WINDY CITY 247154. UPSTREAM 263155. FOUR STEICHEN PRINTS 264

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  • ContentsPAGE

    156. MOON RIDERS 26$157. AT THE GATES OF TOMBS 268158. HAZARDOUS OCCUPATIONS 270159. CROSSING THE PACES 27!1 60. HARSK, HARSK 2721 6 1. BRANCUSI 274

    (Note: Brancusi is a modernist sculptor.)162. THE RAKEOFF AND THE GETAWAY 276163. TWO HUMPTIES 278164. THIS FOR THE MOON YES? 279165. SLABS OF THE SUNBURNT WEST 2&*O

  • Preface

    THEREis in America an incredible city named Chi-

    cago: a rain-coloured city of topless marble towers thatstand among waste plots knee-high with tawny grasses be-side a lake that has grey waves like the sea. It has a shop-ping and office district that for miles round is a darknesslaid on the eyes, so high are the buildings, so cluttered upare the narrow streets with a gauntly striding elevated

    railway, and a stockyards district that for miles round isa stench in the nostrils. It has rows of rotting, paintlesstimber houses, each with a veranda, each with a rocking-chair on its veranda, most with a scoured rag drying onthe chipped balustrade of that veranda, which go on mileafter mile and end at long length in marshes where wildbirds circle round the dark keeps of breweries abandonedbecause of a certain vast and catastrophic legislative ges-ture. It has vast stretches of flat suburbs which, thoughthey are the homes of the comfortable, have a nightmarequality, for one may travel northward ten, fifteen, twentymiles and apparently pass and repass the same fifty yards,since there is nothing on either side save the same villa

    standing at exactly the same distance from its identicalfellows in the same featureless, hedgeless gardens on

    straight roads of exactly the same width, except wherethere is some such unpredictable variation as a vast templeraised to the nineteenth-century Persian prophet knownas the Bab. Extravagant weather passes over this extrava-

    15

  • Preface

    gant city. In the summer you may sit in the dining-roomof a magnificent hotel built like an Italian palazzo andlook down on the waters of the lake which no longerseem water, because they are packed with people fromthe slums who have run into the lake because they areswearing, scorching, blistering with the unbearable heatof the Middle West until they have no room to swim butmust stand upright, crowded shoulder to shoulder. Theolder of them cry through the twilight in tongues youhave not heard since you were last in Budapest or Athensor Prague, and the younger in a tongue that you will notunderstand if you come from England, though it is Eng-lish. In winter, even so late as April, you may walk foran hour by that same lake and not meet a soul, so bitteris the wind that blows over the ice-bank that lips its edge.Though Chicago sprawls widely across Illinois, it has

    but a third of the population of London. It has, how-ever, an Opera such as London has not. It has an Art

    Gallery which alone would make the journey to theseparts worth while, particularly for those who care aboutmodern French art. It has an important book-buying pub-lic which wrangles over modern literature for fear theroad to the truth should be closed like Englishmen disput-ing over rights of way. It experiments passionately with

    every new method of social technique, affixing, for ex-

    ample, a psychological clinic to their law courts in which

    theory after theory is tried out in feverish haste so that

    at one time it seems to be proved that all criminals in

    Chicago are without exception the victims of dementia

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  • Preface

    $ra?cox and at another that they are all epileptics. Every-body has their fun. The poor dance wildly in dance-hallsthe size of cathedrals, they have their movie theatres vastas the Pantheon and naive as a small boy, and they havea real endowment in an ardent civic consciousness suchas is not now known in the Old World. Every child inthe street will tell you how beautiful Michigan Boule-vard will be when it is finished, and looks forward, asto a consummation of personal self-satisfaction, to the

    day, which in point of fact is inevitably approaching,when Chicago will be the capital of the United States.But also Chicago has crime such as London has not.

    There is, roughly speaking, a murder a day. This crime

    occasionally takes spectacular and portentous forms. Onlya few years ago, following a dispute between whites and

    negroes at a bathing-shore, Chicago took a holiday fromits business for five days and carried on a race-riot, kill-

    ing over thirty people, wounding over five hundred, and

    destroying a thousand homes. Another racial problem hadas sinister a crystallization there in a recent murder. Arich Jewish boy was so impressed as a child by the hatredand contempt directed by Christians at his race (for Anti-Semitism in the United States is a savage thing) that,when his father took him for company in his car to theoffice in the mornings by a route which passed the peni-tentiary recreation ground, he identified himself and hiskind with the convicts. In the course of time, because of

    this early identification, his natural desire to excel amongHis own people confusedly expressed itself as a desire to

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  • Preface

    excel among criminals; so that with the help of another

    Jew, who was an easy victim to him since he also hadbeen warped by a fantasy arising out of a sense of racial

    persecution, he committed a senseless murder. It is