i woke to music
of winter’s composition—
cold rain-notes tapping
Lightning diagrams a cross
On the onyx sky.
This light in my eye still shines—
Am I able to bear it?
Before fame came to him he was scornful of it.
After fame arrived he was still scornful of it.
He asked himself how shall men of facts deal with poems,
and how shall men of poems deal with facts?
In London his woman filled fourteen cob pipes
with tobacco and stood them in a row on his
writing table each morning.
The day’s work was done and it was time to quit
when the last pipe was smoked.
He died far on a blue star hunting the answer
why steel is steel and mist is mist.
Sandburg (like me) was a fan of Crane. This is one of Sandburg’s best character study poems, I think.
The red-tailed hawk swooped,
snatched a gray squirrel. Red tearing—
this, too, is lovely.
(Tune: The Weaver and His Shuttle, O)
[. . .]
Thus all obscure, unknown, and poor, thro’ life I’m doomed to wander, O
Till down my weary bones I lay in everlasting slumber, O
No view nor care, but shun whate’er might breed me pain or sorrow, O
I live today, as well’s I may, regardless of tomorrow, O.
But cheerful still, I am as well, as a monarch in a palace, O
Tho’ fortune’s frown still hunts me down, with all her wonted malice, O
I make indeed, my daily bread, but ne’er can make it farther, O
But as daily bread is all I need, I do not much regard her, O.