Carl Sandburg

(6 January 1878 – 22 July 1967 / Illinois)

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From The Shore


A lone gray bird,
Dim-dipping, far-flying,
Alone in the shadows and grandeurs and tumults
Of night and the sea
And the stars and storms.

Out over the darkness it wavers and hovers,
Out into the gloom it swings and batters,
Out into the wind and the rain and the vast,
Out into the pit of a great black world,
Where fogs are at battle, sky-driven, sea-blown,
Love of mist and rapture of flight,
Glories of chance and hazards of death
On its eager and palpitant wings.

Out into the deep of the great dark world,
Beyond the long borders where foam and drift
Of the sundering waves are lost and gone
On the tides that plunge and rear and crumble.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Tuesday, October 04, 2011

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  • Bronze Star - 6,503 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (10/20/2014 8:48:00 AM)

    Very interesting poem. How beautifully narrated the flying of birds in such adversities of nature and the poet sees the flying as glories of chance and hazards of death a great imagination. This is a marvelous poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 374 Points John Richter (10/20/2014 7:46:00 AM)

    Interesting, I would say. Haven't each of us - at one time or another - sat in a beautiful place - alone - devoid of other soul's, and watched a bird glide in the steep winds? I have. Many times. I can't think of a more beautiful way to express such an encounter. I think that is the magic of Mr. Sandburg - his ability to reach into the reader and find commonality - and then enhance it by transferring the mundane into great wonder. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 20 Points John S (10/20/2013 8:44:00 PM)

    He chose nice descriptive words:
    Alone in the shadows and grandeurs and tumults, rapture of flight, eager and palpitant wings
    The only thing that really, really bothers me about modern poetry is that the poets don't rhyme. That's just personal preference. I think a poem flows so much better when the lines rhyme. This poem got a 6.2 with 75 votes. With his beautiful, descriptive words if he'd have made this rhyme I think the score would be much higher! What do modern poets have against rhyming anyway? ? (Report) Reply

    Veteran Poet - 4,179 Points Frank Avon (10/20/2014 1:00:00 AM)

    That IS just your personal perference. In most languages, in most eras, poems don't rhyme. Shakespeare wrote mostly in blank verse; so did Milton; e.g. 'Paradise Lost.' Wordsworth's 'Prelude, ' also. Eliot's 'Four Quartets.' Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass.' And so much rhyming poetry is BAD poetry. (Cf. John S on Joyce Kilmer's 'Stars.') Italian and French rhyme more smoothly than English, so the English tried to imitate them, but poets often have to twist and veer, wiggle and wriggle, to get a words that rhymes at the right times. Traditional syntax and natural vocal rhythms simply take a beating. So, please, respect MY persoanal preference. And for god's sake, quite teaching our children that pomes hafta rime. They don't.

  • Rookie - 87 Points Liliana ~el (10/20/2013 7:54:00 AM)

    Magnificent imagery; painted complete scene of chance, love, death, eagerness...
    Wonderful! (Report) Reply

Read all 4 comments »

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