Carl Sandburg - Chicago Poems
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Carl Sandburg - Chicago Poems


Carl Sandburg was virtually unknown to the literary world when, in 1914, a group of his poems appeared in the nationally circulated Poetry magazine. Two years later his book Chicago Poems was published, and the thirty-eight-year-old author found himself on the brink of a career that would bring him international acclaim.

Carl Sandburg worked from the time he was a young boy. He quit school following his graduation from eighth grade in 1891 and spent a decade working a variety of jobs. He delivered milk, harvested ice, laid bricks, threshed wheat in Kansas, and shined shoes in Galesburg's Union Hotel before traveling as a hobo in 1897.

Sandburg's experiences working and traveling greatly influenced his writing and political views. He saw first-hand the sharp contrast between rich and poor, a dichotomy that instilled in him a distrust of capitalism.


GUNS on the battle lines have pounded now a year
     between Brussels and Paris.
And, William Morris, when I read your old chapter on
     the great arches and naves and little whimsical
     corners of the Churches of Northern France--Brr-rr!
I'm glad you're a dead man, William Morris, I'm glad
     you're down in the damp and mouldy, only a memory
     instead of a living man--I'm glad you're gone.
You never lied to us, William Morris, you loved the
     shape of those stones piled and carved for you to
     dream over and wonder because workmen got joy
     of life into them,
Workmen in aprons singing while they hammered, and
     praying, and putting their songs and prayers into
     the walls and roofs, the bastions and cornerstones
     and gargoyles--all their children and kisses of
     women and wheat and roses growing.
I say, William Morris, I'm glad you're gone, I'm glad
     you're a dead man.
Guns on the battle lines have pounded a year now between
     Brussels and Paris.

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