Verse > Carl Sandburg > Cornhuskers
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Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).  Cornhuskers.  1918.
 
16. Localities
 
 
WAGON WHEEL GAP is a place I never saw
And Red Horse Gulch and the chutes of Cripple Creek.
 
Red-shirted miners picking in the sluices,
Gamblers with red neckties in the night streets,
The fly-by-night towns of Bull Frog and Skiddoo,        5
The night-cool limestone white of Death Valley,
The straight drop of eight hundred feet
From a shelf road in the Hasiampa Valley:
Men and places they are I never saw.
 
I have seen three White Horse taverns,        10
One in Illinois, one in Pennsylvania,
One in a timber-hid road of Wisconsin.
 
I bought cheese and crackers
Between sun showers in a place called White Pigeon
Nestling with a blacksmith shop, a post-office,        15
And a berry-crate factory, where four roads cross.
 
On the Pecatonica River near Freeport
I have seen boys run barefoot in the leaves
Throwing clubs at the walnut trees
In the yellow-and-gold of autumn,        20
And there was a brown mash dry on the inside of their hands.
On the Cedar Fork Creek of Knox County
I know how the fingers of late October
Loosen the hazel nuts.
I know the brown eyes of half-open hulls.        25
I know boys named Lindquist, Swanson, Hildebrand.
I remember their cries when the nuts were ripe.
And some are in machine shops; some are in the navy;
And some are not on payrolls anywhere.
Their mothers are through waiting for them to come home.        30
 

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