The Internet Poetry Archive

Poems Done on a Late Night Car

by Carl Sandburg


I. CHICKENS

I am The Great White Way of the city:
When you ask what is my desire, I answer:
"Girls fresh as country wild flowers,
With young faces tired of the cows and barns,
Eager in their eyes as the dawn to find my mysteries,
Slender supple girls with shapely legs,
Lure in the arch of their little shoulders
And wisdom from the prairies to cry only softly at the ashes of my mysteries."


II. USED UP

Lines based on certain regrets that come with rumination
upon the painted faces of women on North Clark Street, Chicago.

      Roses,
      Red roses,
      Crushed
In the rain and wind
Like mouths of women
Beaten by the fists of
Men using them.
  O little roses
  And broken leaves
  And petal wisps:
You that so flung your crimson
  To the sun
Only yesterday.


III. HOME

Here is a thing my heart wishes the world had more of:
I heard it in the air of one night when I listened
To a mother singing softly to a child restless and angry in the darkness.

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