Verse > Carl Sandburg > Cornhuskers
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Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).  Cornhuskers.  1918.
 
99. Memoir
 
 
PAPA JOFFRE, the shoulders of him wide as the land of France.
 
We look on the shoulders filling the stage of the Chicago Auditorium.
 
A fat mayor has spoken much English and the mud of his speech is crossed with quicksilver hisses elusive and rapid from floor and gallery.
 
A neat governor speaks English and the listeners ring chimes to his clear thoughts.
 
Joffre speaks a few words in French; this is a voice of the long firing line that runs from the salt sea dunes of Flanders to the white spear crags of the Swiss mountains.        5
 
This is the man on whose yes and no has hung the death of battalions and brigades; this man speaks of the tricolor of his country now melted in a great resolve with the starred bunting of Lincoln and Washington.
 
This is the hero of the Marne, massive, irreckonable; he lets tears roll down his cheek; they trickle a wet salt off his chin onto the blue coat.
 
There is a play of American hands and voices equal to sea-breakers and a lift of white sun on a stony beach.
 

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