Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Here's a poem Jean-Luc didn't write

WHO AM I?

MY head knocks against the stars.
My feet are on the hilltops.
My finger-tips are in the valleys and shores of
universal life.
Down in the sounding foam of primal things I
reach my hands and play with pebbles of
destiny.
I have been to hell and back many times.
I know all about heaven, for I have talked with God.
I dabble in the blood and guts of the terrible.
I know the passionate seizure of beauty
And the marvelous rebellion of man at all signs
reading "Keep Off."

My name is Truth and I am the most elusive captive
in the universe.

Carl Sandburg

I'm reading through Bettina Drew's book on Nelson Algren, picking up on the references to individuals. There are a wealth of American writers and political figures that I know nothing about, and slowly, slowly, I'm starting to learn a thing or two. That's what led me to Carl Sandburg. It doesn't worry me that many of the poems sound like something from Communist Russia, idealised visions of the noble fisherman, the rugged workman, hammer dangling from his belt after a day of toil, the sun setting over a heap of rubbish, that sort of thing. There is even a celebration of the Mob! as the seeding ground of great men... (hmmm, mobs, wonderful! how about a line from EU, something like, "From the heart of the mob, murder, at the end of a lyncher's rope...")

I suppose the only surprise about this poem about truth is that Sandburg doesn't manage to mention union membership, but it's still kind of good.

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