‘War,’ A Poem by Carl Sandburg


Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1878. His Swedish immigrant mother and father had been poor, and Sandburg left faculty at an early age to assist assist the household, working as a barbershop porter, a dishwasher, and a brickyard hand, amongst different odd jobs. At 17 he traveled west to Kansas as a hobo, however when the Spanish-American Warfare broke out in 1898, he enlisted within the sixth Illinois Infantry. (He’s within the middle of the {photograph} at proper.) Sandburg landed at Guánica together with his unit in the course of the invasion of Puerto Rico later that 12 months however by no means noticed battle.

After the conflict ended, Sandburg briefly attended the U.S. Army Academy at West Level. (He left after two weeks when he failed a arithmetic and grammar examination.) He then enrolled in Lombard Faculty in Galesburg, the place he started writing poetry. He accomplished 4 years there however didn’t earn a diploma. He then moved to Milwaukee, the place he labored as an promoting author and a newspaper reporter and met and married Lillian Steichen (whom he referred to as Paula), the sister of photographer Edward Steichen. In 1913 the couple moved to Chicago, the place Sandburg grew to become an editorial author for the Chicago Day by day Information. He additionally made a reputation for himself as a poet, publishing three volumes of free-verse poems in simply 5 years. The second quantity, Cornhuskers (1918) acquired the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He was acknowledged as a member of the Chicago literary renaissance, which included Sherwood Anderson, Theodore Dreiser, Ben Hecht, and Edgar Lee Masters.

Within the Twenties Sandburg started writing what would become a six-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln. In 1940 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in historical past for the final 4 volumes of the biography, revealed as Abraham Lincoln: The Warfare Years, and in 1951 he was awarded a second Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his Full Poems.

Sandburg died in 1967 at his farm in Flat Rock, North Carolina. “Carl Sandburg was greater than the voice of America, greater than the poet of its power and genius,” President Lyndon B. Johnson mentioned in observing his demise. “He was America.”

The poem that follows is from Sandburg’s Chicago Poems (Henry Holt & Firm, 1916).

WARS

Within the outdated wars drum of hoofs and the beat of shod ft.

Within the new wars hum of motors and the tread of rubber 

tires.

Within the wars to return silent wheels and whirr of rods not

but dreamed out within the heads of males.

Within the outdated wars clutches of brief swords and jabs into

faces with spears.

Within the new wars lengthy vary weapons and smashed partitions, weapons

operating a spit of metallic and males falling in tens and

twenties.

Within the wars to return new silent deaths, new silent hurlers

not but dreamed out within the heads of males.

Within the outdated wars kings quarreling and 1000’s of males

following.

Within the new wars kings quarreling and tens of millions of males 

following.

Within the wars to return kings kicked beneath the mud and

tens of millions of males following nice causes not but

dreamed out within the heads of males.

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