My Pocket Book of Modern Verse has just 2 poems of Carl Sandburg. One called “Lost”, is part of “Chicago Poems”, the collection of poetry published in 1916 that first got Sandburg recognition.
Desolate and alone
All night long on the lake
Where fog trails and mist creeps,
The whistle of a boat
Calls and cries unendingly,
Like some lost child
In tears and trouble
Hunting the harbor's breast
And the harbor's eyes.
The second poem you will be hard put to find in almost any Carl Sandburg collection, but it made that particular page in my Pocket Book one of the most thumbed. And it is the one that I will always remember Carl Sanburg by.
It is simply called “They Have Yarns.” (see below)
Carl Sandburg wrote all kinds of stuff, apart from poems. He wrote a collection of children’s stories called The Rootabaga stories, which he described as ". . . attempts to catch fantasy, accents, pulses, eye flashes, inconceivably rapid and perfect gestures, sudden pantomimic moments, drawls and drolleries, gazings and musings--authoritative poetic instants--knowing that if the whir of them were caught quickly and simply enough in words, the result would be a child lore interesting to child and grown-up." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/13/carl-sandburg-and-the-roo_n_422373.html
His biography of Abraham Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln : The War Years) won him one of his 3 Pulitzer Prizes, the other two for his poetry. And if Wikipedia is to be believed, apparently Steven Speilberg said that the face of E.T. was a combination of Carl Sandburg, Albert Einstein & Ernest Hemingway!
They have yarns
Of a skyscraper so tall they had to put hinges on the two top stories so to let the moon go by,
Of one corn crop in Missouri when the roots went so deep and drew off so much water
The Mississippi riverbed that year was dry.
Of pancakes so thin they had only one side,
Of "a fog so thick we shingl'ed the barn and six feet out on thefog,“
Of Pecos Pete straddling a cyclone in Texas and riding it to the west coast where "it rained out under him,“
Of the man who drove a swarm of bees across the Rocky Mountains and the Desert "and didn't lose a bee.“
Of a mountain railroad curve where the engineer in his cab can touch the caboose and spit in the conductor's eye,
Of the boy who climbed a cornstalk growing so fast he would have starved to death if they hadn't shot biscuits up to him,“
Of the old man's whiskers: "When the wind was with him his whiskers arrived a day before he did,“
Of the hen laying a square egg and cackling, "Ouch! " and of hens laying eggs with the dates printed on them,
Of the ship captain's shadow: it froze to the deck one cold winter night,
Of mutineers on that same ship put to chipping rust with rubber hammers,
Of the sheep-counter who was fast and accurate: "I just count their feet and divide by four,“
Of the man so tall he must climb a ladder to shave himself,
Of the runt so teeny-weeny it takes two men and a boy to see him,
Of mosquitoes: one can kill a dog, two of them a man,
Of a cyclone that sucked cookstoves out of the kitchen, up the chimney flue, and on to the next town,
Of the same cyclone picking up wagon-tracks in Nebraska and dropping them over in the Dakotas,
Of the hook-and-eye snake unlocking itself into forty pieces, each piece two inches long, then in nine seconds flat snapping
itself together again,
Of the watch swallowed by the cow: when they butchered her a year later the watch was running and had the correct time,
Of horned snakes, hoop snakes that roll themselves where they want to go, and rattlesnakes carrying bells instead of
rattles on their tails,
Of the herd of cattle in California getting lost in a giant redwood tree that had been hollowed out,
Of the man who killed a snake by putting its tail in its mouth so it swallowed itself,
Of railroad trains whizzing along so fast they reached the station before the whistle,
Of pigs so thin the farmer had to tic knots in their tails to keep them from crawling through the cracks in their pens,
Of Paul Bunyan's big blue ox, Babe, measuring between the eyes forty-two ax-handles and a plug of Star tobacco exactly,
Of John Henry's hammer and the curve of its swing and his singing of it as " a rainbow round my shoulder."
They have yarns . . .
made me go back again