Verse > Carl Sandburg > Chicago Poems
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Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).  Chicago Poems.  1916.
 
20. Graceland
 
 
    TOMB of a millionaire,
    A multi-millionaire, ladies and gentlemen,
    Place of the dead where they spend every year
    The usury of twenty-five thousand dollars
    For upkeep and flowers        5
    To keep fresh the memory of the dead.
    The merchant prince gone to dust
    Commanded in his written will
    Over the signed name of his last testament
    Twenty-five thousand dollars be set aside        10
    For roses, lilacs, hydrangeas, tulips,
    For perfume and color, sweetness of remembrance
    Around his last long home.
 
(A hundred cash girls want nickels to go to the movies to-night.
In the back stalls of a hundred saloons, women are at tables        15
Drinking with men or waiting for men jingling loose silver dollars in their pockets.
In a hundred furnished rooms is a girl who sells silk or dress goods or leather stuff for six dollars a week wages
And when she pulls on her stockings in the morning she is reckless about God and the newspapers and the police, the talk of her home town or the name people call her.)
 

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