15+ Best Carl Sandburg Poems Everyone Should Read

Carl August Sandburg was an American poet. His poetic style stood out from many other poets because of its lack of form and structure. He uses a lot of casual word usage and slang. Profoundly inspirational Carl Sandburg poems will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

If you’re searching for famous poems ever that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of selected William Carlos Williams poems, best of Countee Cullen poems, and famous Leonard Cohen poems.

Most Famous Carl Sandburg Poems

The Plowboy

AFTER the last red sunset glimmer,
Black on the line of a low hill rise,
Formed into moving shadows, I saw
A plowboy and two horses lined against the gray,
Plowing in the dusk the last furrow.
The turf had a gleam of brown,
And smell of soil was in the air,
And, cool and moist, a haze of April.

I shall remember you long,
Plowboy and horses against the sky in shadow.
I shall remember you and the picture
You made for me,
Turning the turf in the dusk
And haze of an April gloaming.


POLICEMAN in front of a bank 3 A.M. … lonely.
Policeman State and Madison … high noon … mobs … cars … parcels … lonely.

Woman in suburbs … keeping night watch on a sleeping typhoid patient … only a clock to talk to … lonesome.
Woman selling gloves … bargain day department store … furious crazy-work of many hands slipping in and out of gloves … lonesome.

Mammy Hums

THIS is the song I rested with:
The right shoulder of a strong man I leaned on.
The face of the rain that drizzled on the short neck of a canal boat.
The eyes of a child who slept while death went over and under.
The petals of peony pink that fluttered in a shot of wind come and gone.

This is the song I rested with:
Head, heels, and fingers rocked to the **** mammy humming of it, to the mile-off steamboat landing whistle of it.

The murmurs run with bees’ wings
in a late summer sun.
They go and come with white surf
slamming on a beach all day.

Get this.
And then you may sleep with a late afternoon slumber sun.
Then you may slip your head in an elbow knowing nothing-only sleep.
If so you sleep in the house of our song,
If so you sleep under the apple trees of our song,
Then the face of sleep must be the one face you were looking for.


I have seen this city in the night and the moon.
And in the night and the moon I have seen a thing this city gave me nothing of in the day and the sun.

The float of the dome in the day and the sun is one thing.
The float of the dome in the night and the moon is another thing.
In the night and the moon the float of the dome is a dream-whisper, a croon of a hope: ‘Not today, child, not today, lover; maybe tomorrow, child, maybe tomorrow, lover.’

Can a dome of iron dream deeper than living men?
Can the float of a shape hovering among tree-tops-can this speak an oratory sad, singing and red beyond the speech of the living men?

A mother of men, a sister, a lover, a woman past the dreams of the living-
Does she go sad, singing and red out of the float of this dome?

There is … something … here … men die for.


BECAUSE I have called to you
as the flame flamingo calls,
or the want of a spotted hawk
is called-
because in the dusk
the warblers shoot the running
waters of short songs to the
homecoming warblers-
the cry here is wing to wing
and song to song-

I am waiting,
waiting with the flame flamingo,
the spotted hawk, the running water
waiting for you.

Carlovingian Dreams

COUNT these reminiscences like money.
The Greeks had their picnics under another name.
The Romans wore glad rags and told their neighbors, ‘What of it? ‘
The Carlovingians hauling logs on carts, they too
Stuck their noses in the air and stuck their thumbs to their noses
And tasted life as a symphonic dream of fresh eggs broken over a frying pan left by an uncle who killed men with spears and short swords.
Count these reminiscences like money.

Drift, and drift on, white ships.
Sailing the free sky blue, sailing and changing and sailing,
Oh, I remember in the blood of my dreams how they sang before me.
Oh, they were men and women who got money for their work, money or love or dreams.
Sail on, white ships.
Let me have spring dreams.
Let me count reminiscences like money; let me count picnics, glad rags and the great bad manners of the Carlovingians breaking fresh eggs in the copper pans of their proud uncles.


I AM put high over all others in the city today.

I am the killer who kills for those who wish a killing today.

Here is a strong young man who killed.
There was a driving wind of city dust and horse dung blowing and he stood at an intersection of five sewers and there pumped the bullets of an automatic pistol into another man, a fellow citizen.
Therefore, the prosecuting attorneys, fellow citizens, and a jury of his peers, also fellow citizens, listened to the testimony of other fellow citizens, policemen, doctors, and after a verdict of guilty, the judge, a fellow citizen, said: I sentence you to be hanged by the neck till you are dead.

So there is a killer to be killed and I am the killer of the killer for today.
I don’t know why it beats in my head in the lines I read once in an old school reader: I’m to be queen of the May, mother, I’m to be queen of the May.
Anyhow it comes back in language just like that today.

I am the high honorable killer today.
There are five million people in the state, five million killers for whom I kill
I am the killer who kills today for five million killers who wish a killing.


BILBEA, I was in Babylon on Saturday night.
I saw nothing of you anywhere.
I was at the old place and the other girls were there, but no Bilbea.

Have you gone to another house? or city?
Why don’t you write?
I was sorry. I walked home half-sick.

Tell me how it goes.
Send me some kind of a letter.
And take care of yourself.


NOTHING else in this song-only your face.
Nothing else here-only your drinking, night-gray eyes.

The pier runs into the lake straight as a rifle barrel.
I stand on the pier and sing how I know you mornings.
It is not your eyes, your face, I remember.
It is not your dancing, race-horse feet.
It is something else I remember you for on the pier mornings.

Your hands are sweeter than nut-brown bread when you touch me.
Your shoulder brushes my arm-a south-west wind crosses the pier.
I forget your hands and your shoulder and I say again:

Nothing else in this song-only your face.
Nothing else here-only your drinking, night-gray eyes.

Clinton South Of Polk

I WANDER down on Clinton street south of Polk
And listen to the voices of Italian children quarreling.
It is a cataract of coloratura
And I could sleep to their musical threats and accusations.

Crimson Rambler

NOW that a crimson rambler
begins to crawl over the house
of our two lives-

Now that a red curve
winds across the shingles-

Now that hands
washed in early sunrises
climb and spill scarlet
on a white lattice weave-

Now that a loop of blood
is written on our roof
and reaching around a chimney-

How are the two lives of this house
to keep strong hands and strong hearts?

Testimony Regarding A Ghost

THE ROSES slanted crimson sobs
On the night sky hair of the women,
And the long light-fingered men
Spoke to the dark-haired women,
‘Nothing lovelier, nothing lovelier.’
How could he sit there among us all
Guzzling blood into his guts,
Goblets, mugs, buckets-
Leaning, toppling, laughing
With a slobber on his mouth,
A smear of red on his strong raw lips,
How could he sit there
And only two or three of us see him?
There was nothing to it.
He wasn’t there at all, of course.

The roses leaned from the pots.
The sprays snot roses gold and red
And the roses slanted crimson sobs
In the night sky hair
And the voices chattered on the way
To the frappe, speaking of pictures,
Speaking of a strip of black velvet
Crossing a girlish woman’s throat,
Speaking of the mystic music flash
Of pots and sprays of roses,
‘Nothing lovelier, nothing lovelier.’


IN the newspaper office-who are the spooks?
Who wears the mythic coat invisible?

Who ****foots from desk to desk
with a speaking forefinger?
Who gumshoes amid the copy paper
with a whispering thumb?

Speak softly-the sacred cows may hear.
Speak easy-the sacred cows must be fed.


I WILL keep you and bring hands to hold you against a great hunger.
I will run a spear in you for a great gladness to die with.
I will stab you between the ribs of the left side with a great love worth remembering.


SELL me a violin, mister, of old mysterious wood.
Sell me a fiddle that has kissed dark nights on the forehead where men kiss sisters they love.
Sell me dried wood that has ached with passion clutching the knees and arms of a storm.
Sell me horsehair and rosin that has sucked at the breasts of the morning sun for milk.
Sell me something crushed in the heartsblood of pain readier than ever for one more song.