Selected Poems of Carl Sandburg

Selected Poems of Carl Sandburg

Selected Poems of Carl Sandburg

Selected Poems of Carl Sandburg

Excerpt

There is in America an incredible city named Chicago: a rain-coloured city of topless marble towers that stand among waste plots knee-high with tawny grasses beside a lake that has grey waves like the sea. It has a shopping and office district that for miles round is a darkness laid on the eyes, so high are the buildings, so cluttered up are the narrow streets with a gauntly striding elevated railway, and a stockyards district that for miles round is a stench in the nostrils. It has rows of rotting, paintless timber houses, each with a veranda, each with a rocking-chair on its veranda, most with a scoured rag drying on the chipped balustrade of that veranda, which go on mile after mile and end at long length in marshes where wild birds circle round the dark keeps of breweries abandoned because of a certain vast and catastrophic legislative gesture. It has vast stretches of flat suburbs which, though they are the homes of the comfortable, have a nightmare quality, for one may travel northward ten, fifteen, twenty miles 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 identical fellows in the same featureless, hedgeless gardens on straight roads of exactly the same width, except where there is some such unpredictable variation as a vast temple raised to the nineteenth-century Persian prophet known as the Bab. Extravagant weather passes over this extrava-

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