Verse > Carl Sandburg > Cornhuskers
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Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).  Cornhuskers.  1918.
 
17. Caboose Thoughts
 
 
IT’S going to come out all right—do you know?
The sun, the birds, the grass—they know.
They get along—and we’ll get along.
 
Some days will be rainy and you will sit waiting
And the letter you wait for won’t come,        5
And I will sit watching the sky tear off gray and gray
And the letter I wait for won’t come.
 
There will be ac-ci-dents.
I know ac-ci-dents are coming.
Smash-ups, signals wrong, washouts, trestles rotten,        10
Red and yellow ac-ci-dents.
But somehow and somewhere the end of the run
The train gets put together again
And the caboose and the green tail lights
Fade down the right of way like a new white hope.        15
 
I never heard a mockingbird in Kentucky
Spilling its heart in the morning.
 
I never saw the snow on Chimborazo.
It’s a high white Mexican hat, I hear.
 
I never had supper with Abe Lincoln.        20
Nor a dish of soup with Jim Hill.
 
But I’ve been around.
I know some of the boys here who can go a little.
I know girls good for a burst of speed any time.
 
I heard Williams and Walker        25
Before Walker died in the bughouse.
 
I knew a mandolin player
Working in a barber shop in an Indiana town,
And he thought he had a million dollars.
 
I knew a hotel girl in Des Moines.        30
She had eyes; I saw her and said to myself
The sun rises and the sun sets in her eyes.
I was her steady and her heart went pit-a-pat.
We took away the money for a prize waltz at a Brotherhood dance.
She had eyes; she was safe as the bridge over the Mississippi at Burlington; I married her.        35
 
Last summer we took the cushions going west.
Pike’s Peak is a big old stone, believe me.
It’s fastened down; something you can count on.
 
It’s going to come out all right—do you know?
The sun, the birds, the grass—they know.        40
They get along—and we’ll get along.
 

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