Verse > Carl Sandburg > Chicago Poems
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Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).  Chicago Poems.  1916.
 
142. The Red Son
 
 
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
And was one of you.
            But a fire burns in my heart.        5
Under the ribs where pulses thud
And flitting between bones of skull
Is the push, the endless mysterious command,
            Saying:
“I leave you behind—        10
You for the little hills and the years all alike,
You with your patient cows and old houses
Protected from the rain,
I am going away and I never come back to you;
Crags and high rough places call me,        15
Great places of death
Where men go empty handed
And pass over smiling
To the star-drift on the horizon rim.
My last whisper shall be alone, unknown;        20
I shall go to the city and fight against it,
And make it give me passwords
Of luck and love, women worth dying for,
And money.
        I go where you wist not of        25
        Nor I nor any man nor woman.
        I only know I go to storms
        Grappling against things wet and naked.”
There is no pity of it and no blame.
None of us is in the wrong.        30
After all it is only this:
        You for the little hills and I go away.
 

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