Your western heads here cast on money,
You are the two that fade away together,
Partners in the mist.
Now the stone house on the lake front is finished and the
workmen are beginning the fence.
Close-mouthed you sat five thousand years and never let out a whisper.
Sobs En Route to a Penitentiary
Good-by now to the streets and the clash of wheels and
There will be a rusty gun on the wall, sweetheart,
The rifle grooves curling with flakes of rust.
All day long in fog and wind,
The waves have flung their beating crests
Against the palisades of adamant.
Among the red guns,
In the hearts of soldiers
Running free blood
In the long, long campaign:
Dreams go on.
Smash down the cities.
Knock the walls to pieces.
Break the factories and cathedrals, warehouses
Cross the hands over the breast here--so.
Straighten the legs a little more--so.
Many things I might have said today.
And I kept my mouth shut.
So many times I was asked
To come and say the same things
I waited today for a freight train to pass.
Cattle cars with steers butting their horns against the
bars, went by.
Shine on, O moon of summer.
Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak,
All silver under your rain to-night.
Five geese deploy mysteriously.
Onward proudly with flagstaffs,
Hearses with silver bugles,
Bushes of plum-blossoms dropping
A man saw the whole world as a grinning skull and cross-bones. The rose flesh of life shriveled from all faces. Nothing counts.
Between two hills
The old town stands.
The houses loom
And the roofs and trees
And the dusk and the dark,
The damp and the dew
Why shall I keep the old name?
What is a name anywhere anyway?
Six streets come together here.
They feed people and wagons into the center.
Sling me under the sea.
Pack me down in the salt and wet.
No farmer?s plow shall touch my bones.
I thought of killing myself because I am only a bricklayer
and you a woman who loves the man who runs a drug store.
Cover me over
In dusk and dust and dreams.
Cover me over
And leave me alone.
Cover me over,
You tireless, great.
There's Chamfort. He?s a sample.
Locked himself in his library with a gun,
Shot off his nose and shot out his right eye.
Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
I saluted a nobody.
I saw him in a looking-glass.
He smiled--so did I.
The young child, Christ, is straight and wise
And asks questions of the old men, questions
The child's wonder
At the old moon
Comes back nightly.
She points her finger
To the far silent yellow thing
The dago shovelman sits by the railroad track
Eating a noon meal of bread and bologna.
They offer you many things,
I a few.
Moonlight on the play of fountains at night
With water sparkling a drowsy monotone,
The single clenched fist lifted and ready,
Or the open asking hand held out and waiting.
Dust of the feet
And dust of the wheels,
Wagons and people going,
All day feet and wheels.
Now. . .
. . Only stars and mist
When Abraham Lincoln was shoveled into the tombs he forgot
the copperheads and the assassin . . . in the dust, in the
DEATH is stronger than all the governments because
the governments are men and men die and then
By the teeming docks,
I watch the ships put out.
Black ships that heave and lunge
And move like mastodons
You will come one day in a waver of love,
Tender as dew, impetuous as rain,
The tan of the sun will be on your skin,
Dreams in the dusk,
Only dreams closing the day
And with the day?s close going back
To the gray things, the dark things,
What do we see here in the sand dunes of the white moon alone with our thoughts, Bill,
Here is dust remembers it was a rose
one time and lay in a woman's hair.
Here is dust remembers it was a woman
Child of the Aztec gods,
how long must we listen here,
how long before we go?
The dust is deep on the lintels.
I sat with a dynamiter at supper in a German saloon eating steak and onions.
What is the name you called me?--
And why did you go so soon?
The crows lift their caws on the wind,
I drank musty ale at the Illinois Athletic Club with
the millionaire manufacturer of Green River butter
I will read ashes for you, if you ask me.
I will look on the fire and tell you from the gray lashes
I know a Jew fish crier down on Maxwell Street with a voice like a north wind blowing over corn stubble in January.
Flanders, the name of a place, a country of people,
Spells itself with letters, is written in books.
Sand of the sea runs red
Where the sunset reaches and quivers.
Sand of the sea runs yellow
Where the moon slants and wavers.
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
The blossoms of lilac,
The atoms of purple.
Green dip the leaves,
Darker the bark,
Longer the shadows.
A lone gray bird,
Alone in the shadows and grandeurs and tumults
Of night and the sea
Everybody loved Chick Lorimer in our town.
Everybody loved her.
So we all love a wild girl keeping a hold
Many ways to say good night.
Fireworks at a pier on the Fourth of July
spell it with red wheels and yellow spokes.
The Government -- I heard about the Government and
I went out to find it. I said I would look closely at
it when I saw it.
Tomb of a millionaire,
A multi-millionaire, ladies and gentlemen,
Place of the dead where they spend every year
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work--
I am the grass; I cover all.
I dreamed one man stood against a thousand,
One man damned as a wrongheaded fool.
One year and another he walked the streets,
I asked a gypsy pal
To imitate an old image
And speak old wisdom.
She drew in her chin,
Made her neck and head
Come you, cartoonists,
Hang on a strap with me here
At seven o?clock in the morning
On a Halsted street car.
Take your pencils
I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
I heard a woman's lips
Speaking to a companion
Say these words:
"A woman what hustles
Never keeps nothin'
There are places I go when I am strong.
One is a marsh pool where I used to go
with a long-ear hound-dog.
When country fiddlers held a convention in
Danville, the big money went to a barn dance
It's a jazz affair, drum crashes and coronet razzes.
The trombone pony neighs and the tuba jackass snorts.
Hope is a tattered flag and a dream of time.
Hope is a heartspun word, the rainbow, the shadblow in white
Let us sit by a hissing steam radiator a winter's day, gray wind pattering frozen raindrops on the window,
Dragoons, I tell you the white hydrangeas turn rust and go soon.
Already mid September a line of brown runs over them.
I am the people--the mob--the crowd--the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is
done through me?
I sang to you and the moon
But only the moon remembers.
O reckless free-hearted
I know an ice handler who wears a flannel shirt with pearl buttons the size of a dollar,
Tall timber stood here once, hee on a corn belt farm along the Monon.
Remembrance for a great man is this.
The newsies are pitching pennies.
And on the copper disk is the man?s face.
To the Williamson Brothers
High noon. White sun flashes on the Michigan Avenue
asphalt. Drum of hoofs and whirr of motors.
In the cool of the night time
The clocks pick off the points
And the mainsprings loosen.
They will need winding.
Long, steel guns,
Pointed from the war ships
In the name of the war god.
Straight, shining, polished guns,
Women of night life amid the lights
Where the line of your full, round throats
Matches in gleam the glint of your eyes
Jack was a swarthy, swaggering son-of-a-gun.
Seven nations stood with their hands on the jaws of death.
It was the first week in August, Nineteen Hundred Fourteen.
Let a joy keep you.
Reach out your hands
And take it when it runs by,
As the Apache dancer
Clutches his woman.
I have seen them
Paula is digging and shaping the loam of a salvia,
Scarlet Chinese talker of summer.
In western fields of corn and northern timber lands,
They talk about me, a saloon with a soul,
I am singing to you
Soft as a man with a dead child speaks;
Hard as a man in handcuffs,
Held where he cannot move:
Brother, I am fire
Surging under the ocean floor.
I shall never meet you, brother?
Not for years, anyhow;
There are no handles upon a language
Whereby men take hold of it
And mark it with signs for its remembrance.
I wrote a poem on the mist
And a woman asked me what I meant by it.
I had thought till then only of the beauty of the mist,
There was a high majestic fooling
Day before yesterday in the yellow corn.
And day after to-morrow in the yellow corn
When the jury files in to deliver a verdict after weeks of direct and cross examinations, hot clashes
You gave us the bumble bee who has a soul,
The everlasting traveler among the hollyhocks,
I am riding on a limited express, one of the crack trains
of the nation.
In the loam we sleep,
In the cool moist loam,
To the lull of years that pass
And the break of stars,
From the loam, then,
Wagon wheel gap is a place I never saw
And Red Horse Gulch and the chutes of Cripple Creek.
I have love
And a child,
(Losses of God,
All will go
And one day
We will hold
Only the shadows.)
Desolate and lone
All night long on the lake
Where fog trails and mist creeps,
The whistle of a boat
I wish to God I never saw you, Mag.
I wish you never quit your job and came along with me.
Mamie beat her head against the bars of a little Indiana town and dreamed of romance and big things off somewhere the way the r
LAST night a January wind was ripping at the shingles
over our house and whistling a wolf song under the
Mary has a thingamajig clamped on her ears
And sits all day taking plugs out and sticking plugs in.
Many birds and the beating of wings
Make a flinging reckless hum
In the early morning at the rocks
Above the blue pool
Fling your red scarf faster and faster, dancer.
It is summer and the sun loves a million green leaves, masses of green.
Among the mountains I wandered and saw blue haze and red crag and was amazed;
Maybe he believes me, maybe not.
Maybe I can marry him, maybe not.
Maybe the wind on the prairie,
The wind on the sea, maybe,
The brass medallion profile of your face I keep always.
It is not jingling with loose change in my pockets.
You never come back.
I say good-by when I see you going in the doors,
The hopeless open doors that call and wait
On Forty-first Street
near Eighth Avenue
a frame house wobbles.
If houses went on crutches
this house would be
I am the nigger.
Singer of songs,
Softer than fluff of cotton?
Harder than dark earth
Roads beaten in the sun
Stuff of the moon
Runs on the lapping sand
Out to the longest shadows.
Under the curving willows,
She sits in the dust at the walls
And makes cigars,
Bending at the bench
With fingers wage-anxious,
The owl-car clatters along, dogged by the echo
From building and battered paving-stone.
The headlight scoffs at the mist,
Red barns and red heiffers spot the green
grass circles around Omaha--the farmers
haul tanks of cream and wagon-loads of
On the breakwater in the summer dark, a man and a girl are sitting,
She across his knee and they are looking face into face
Little one, you have been buzzing in the books,
Flittering in the newspapers and drinking beer with lawyers
Mrs. Gabrielle Giovannitti comes along Peoria Street
every morning at nine o'clock
For the gladness here where the sun is shining at evening on the weeds at the river,
Our prayer of thanks.
Take a hold now
On the silver handles here,
Six silver handles,
One for each of his old pals.
Out of your many faces
Flash memories to me
Now at the day end
Away from the sidewalks
Open the door now.
Go roll up the collar of your coat
To walk in the changing scarf of mist.
I have been in Pennsylvania,
In the Monongahela and Hocking Valleys.
In the blue Susquehanna
On a Saturday morning
I painted on the roof of a skyscraper.
I painted a long while and called it a day's work.
Musings of a Police Reporter in the Identification Bureau
You have loved forty women, but you have only one thumb.
Sunday night and the park policemen tell each other it
is dark as a stack of black cats on Lake Michigan.
After the last red sunset glimmer,
Black on the line of a low hill rise,
Formed into moving shadows, I saw
I am The Great White Way of the city:
When you ask what is my desire, I answer:
Out of the fire
Came a man sunken
To less than cinders,
A tea-cup of ashes or so.
The gold in the house,
Ten minutes now I have been looking at this.
I have gone by here before and wondered about it.
Let the crows go by hawking their caw and caw.
They have been swimming in midnights of coal mines somewhere.
Guns on the battle lines have pounded now a year
between Brussels and Paris.
On up the sea slant,
On up the horizon,
The ship limps.
The bone of her nose fog-gray,
The heart of her sea-strong,
The sea-wash never ends.
The sea-wash repeats, repeats.
Only old songs? Is that all the sea knows?
Only the old strong songs?
Thousands of sheep, soft-footed, black-nosed sheep--
one by one going up the hill and over the fence--one by
My shirt is a token and symbol,
more than a cover for sun and rain,
my shirt is a signal,
and a teller of souls.
A man was crucified. He came to the city a stranger,
was accused, and nailed to a cross. He lingered hanging.
On the lips of the child Janet float changing dreams.
It is a thin spiral of blue smoke,
A morning campfire at a mountain lake.
The shadows of the ships
Rock on the crest
In the low blue lustre
Of the tardy and the soft inrolling tide.
By day the skyscraper looms in the smoke and sun and
has a soul.
Prairie and valley, streets of the city, pour people into
Let us be honest; the lady was not a harlot until she
married a corporation lawyer who picked her from
a Ziegfeld chorus.
You have spoken the answer.
A child searches far sometimes
Into the red dust
On a dark rose leaf
And so you have gone far
I cannot tell you now;
When the wind?s drive and whirl
Blow me along no longer,
And the wind?s a whisper at last?
What does a hangman think about
When he goes home at night from work?
When he sits down with his wife and
Passing through huddled and ugly walls
By doorways where women
Looked from their hunger-deep eyes,
A stone face higher than six horses stood five thousand years gazing at the world seeming to clutch a secret.
I am glad God saw Death
And gave Death a job taking care of all who are tired of living:
I asked the mayor of Gary about the 12-hour day and the 7-day week.
I am the mist, the impalpable mist,
Back of the thing you seek.
My arms are long,
Long as the reach of time and space.
She sits in the dust at the walls
And makes cigars,
Bending at the bench
With fingers wage-anxious,
I love your faces I saw the many years
I drank your milk and filled my mouth
With your home talk, slept in your house
I am the undertow
Washing tides of power
Battering the pillars
Under your things of high law.
I am a sleepless
While the hum and the hurry
Of passing footfalls
Beat in my ear like the restless surf
Of a wind-blown sea,
A soul came to me
I am a copper wire slung in the air,
Slim against the sun I make not even a clear line of shadow.
Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Wonder as of old things
Fresh and fair come back
Hangs over pasture and road.
Lush in the lowland grasses rise
I too have a garret of old playthings.
I have tin soldiers with broken arms upstairs.
Your eyes and the valley are memories.
Your eyes fire and the valley a bowl.
It was here a moonrise crept over the timberline.
Today I will let the old boat stand
Where the sweep of the harbor tide comes in
To the pulse of a far, deep-steady sway.
In the old wars drum of hoofs and the beat of shod feet.
In the new wars hum of motors and the tread of rubber tires.
Your white shoulders
And your shrug of laughter.
From your white shoulders.
Your whitelight flashes the frost to-night
Moon of the purple and silent west.
Remember me one of your lovers of dreams.
My head knocks against the stars.
My feet are on the hilltops.
My finger-tips are in the valleys and shores of
Night from a railroad car window
Is a great, dark, soft thing
Broken across with slashes of light.
The working girls in the morning are going to work--
long lines of them afoot amid the downtown stores