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Carl Sandburg

(6 January 1878 – 22 July 1967 / Illinois)

Quotations

  • ''Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.''
    Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), U.S. poet. New York Times (Feb. 13, 1959).
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  • ''Ordering a man to write a poem is like commanding a pregnant woman to give birth to a red-headed child.''
    Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), U.S. poet. Quoted in The Reader's Digest (Pleasantville, New York, February, 1978).
  • ''The mammoth rests between his cyclonic dramas.''
    Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), U.S. poet. The People, Yes (l. 7). . . Oxford Book of American Verse, The. F. O. Matthiessen, ed. (1950) Oxford University Press.
  • ''Sometime they'll give a war and nobody will come.''
    Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), U.S. poet. The People, Yes (1936). The words were popularized during the anti-war protests of the 1960s, and were echoed in the 1970 movie Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? starring Brian Keith and Tony Curtis. Allen Ginsberg also recalls the line in his 1972 poem, Graffiti: "What if someone gave a war & Nobody came? Life would ring the bells of Ecstasy and Forever be Itself again."
  • ''The sea speaks a language polite people never repeat. It is a colossal scavenger slang and has no respect.''
    Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), U.S. poet. Two Nocturnes.

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Noon Hour

She sits in the dust at the walls
And makes cigars,
Bending at the bench
With fingers wage-anxious,
Changing her sweat for the day's pay.

Now the noon hour has come,
And she leans with her bare arms
On the window-sill over the river,

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