Poetry Monday: Offering and Rebuff, by Carl Sandburg

Most people know Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) as the gritty poet who described Chicago as “Hog Butcher for the World/Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat/Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler,/Stormy, Husky, Brawling, City of the Big Shoulders,” or as the Abraham Lincoln biographer. But in his Pulitzer Prize-winning career, he actually wrote quite a few poems featuring nature, too; the contrast between an urbanized/industrialized world and more serene, untouched landscapes (and the unexpected places where these two worlds intersect) is an animating force in his work.

And of all his poems, this is my favorite:

Offering and Rebuff
by Carl Sandburg

I could love you
as dry roots love rain.
I could hold you
as branches in the wind
brandish petals.
Forgive me for speaking so soon.

Let your heart look
on white sea spray
and be lonely.

Love is a fool star.

You and a ring of stars
may mention my name
and then forget me.

Love is a fool star.

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One response to “Poetry Monday: Offering and Rebuff, by Carl Sandburg

  1. Andrew Izatt October 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing that poem Missy. It really spoke to me. I’ve never really ever read Carl Sandburg. I’ll have to check him out.

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