Graceland

By Carl Sandburg 1878–1967 Carl Sandburg
Tomb of a millionaire,
A multi-millionaire, ladies and gentlemen,
Place of the dead where they spend every year
The usury of twenty-five thousand dollars
For upkeep and flowers
To keep fresh the memory of the dead.
The merchant prince gone to dust
Commanded in his written will
Over the signed name of his last testament
Twenty-five thousand dollars be set aside
For roses, lilacs, hydrangeas, tulips,
For perfume and color, sweetness of remembrance
Around his last long home.

(A hundred cash girls want nickels to go to the movies to-night.
In the back stalls of a hundred saloons, women are at tables
Drinking with men or waiting for men jingling loose silver dollars in their pockets.
In a hundred furnished rooms is a girl who sells silk or dress goods or leather stuff for
six dollars a week wages
And when she pulls on her stockings in the morning she is reckless about God and the
newspapers and the police, the talk of her home town or the name people call her.)

Source: The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg (Harcourt Inc., 2003)

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Poet Carl Sandburg 1878–1967

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Living, Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries, Class, Money & Economics, Death

 Carl  Sandburg

Biography

"Trying to write briefly about Carl Sandburg," said a friend of the poet, "is like trying to picture the Grand Canyon in one black and white snapshot." His range of interests was enumerated by his close friend, Harry Golden, who, in his study of the poet, called Sandburg "the one American writer who distinguished himself in five fields—poetry, history, biography, fiction, and music."

Sandburg composed his poetry primarily in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries, Class, Money & Economics, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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