The Abracadabra Boys

By Carl Sandburg 1878–1967 Carl Sandburg
The abracadabra boys—have they been in the stacks and cloisters? Have they picked up languages for throwing into chow mein poems?
Have they been to a sea of jargons and brought back jargons? Their salutations go: Who cometh? and, It ith I cometh.
They know postures from impostures, pistils from pustules, to hear them tell it. They foregather and make pitty pat with each other in Latin and in their private pig Latin, very ofay.
They give with passwords. “Who cometh?” “A kumquat cometh.” “And how cometh the kumquat?” “On an abbadabba, ancient and honorable sire, ever and ever on an abbadabba.”
Do they have fun? Sure—their fun is being what they are, like our fun is being what we are—only they are more sorry for us being what we are than we are for them being what they are.
Pointing at you, at us, at the rabble, they sigh and say, these abracadabra boys, “They lack jargons. They fail to distinguish between pustules and pistils. They knoweth not how the kumquat cometh.”

Carl Sandburg, “The Abracadabra Boys” from The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg. Copyright © 1970 by Carl Sandburg. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Source: The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1970)

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Poet Carl Sandburg 1878–1967

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Activities, Social Commentaries