Verse > Carl Sandburg > Smoke and Steel > II. People Who Must > 22. Crimson Changes People
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Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).  Smoke and Steel. 1922.
  
II. People Who Must
22. Crimson Changes People
  
DID I see a crucifix in your eyes
and nails and Roman soldiers
and a dusk Golgotha?
  
Did I see Mary, the changed woman,
washing the feet of all men,        5
clean as new grass
when the old grass burns?
  
Did I see moths in your eyes, lost moths,
with a flutter of wings that meant:
we can never come again.        10
  
Did I see No Man’s Land in your eyes
and men with lost faces, lost loves,
and you among the stubs crying?
  
Did I see you in the red death jazz of war
losing moths among lost faces,        15
speaking to the stubs who asked you
to speak of songs and God and dancing,
of bananas, northern lights or Jesus,
any hummingbird of thought whatever
flying away from the red death jazz of war?        20
  
Did I see your hand make a useless gesture
trying to say with a code of five fingers
something the tongue only stutters?
did I see a dusk Golgotha?

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