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Saturday, November 12, 2016

'America's Poet' for Saturday's Poem

“I knew I would read all kinds of books and try to get at what it is that makes good writers good. But I made no promises that I would write books a lot of people would like to read.”  Carl Sandburg

At the time of his death in 1967, Sandburg – the only poet ever to address a joint session of Congress – was called by President Lyndon Johnson “… more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America."

He won three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and one for his amazing 6-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln.  He was widely regarded as "a major figure in contemporary literature,” especially for the many volumes of his collected verse, including Chicago Poems, Cornhuskers, and Smoke and Steel.
Sandburg grew up in this modest home in the small western Illinois city of Galesburg.  Traveling near there this summer, I stopped by to see the home, learn more about his life and history, and snap this photo.  It’s a visit I highly commend to all.

“Poetry,” Sandburg once said, “is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment.”  For Saturday’s Poem here is Sandburg’s 

The Fence
Now the stone house on the lake front is finished and the
workmen are beginning the fence. 

The palings are made of iron bars with steel points that
can stab the life out of any man who falls on them.

As a fence, it is a masterpiece, and will shut off the rabble
and all vagabonds and hungry men and all wandering
children looking for a place to play.

Passing through the bars and over the steel points will go
nothing except Death and the Rain and Tomorrow.

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