Carl Sandburg

(6 January 1878 – 22 July 1967 / Illinois)

A Teamster's Farewell


Sobs En Route to a Penitentiary


Good-by now to the streets and the clash of wheels and
locking hubs,
The sun coming on the brass buckles and harness knobs.
The muscles of the horses sliding under their heavy
haunches,
Good-by now to the traffic policeman and his whistle,
The smash of the iron hoof on the stones,
All the crazy wonderful slamming roar of the street--
O God, there's noises I'm going to be hungry for.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Amanda Baracos (10/12/2013 7:09:00 AM)

    For me, it's all about how the poem reads and it reads beautifully. I don't care about any political stuff when I read that last line because it makes my heart beat really fast. That last line was sculpted right out of heaven. (Report) Reply

  • David M. Dunn (2/14/2010 2:33:00 PM)

    This anti-worker poem annoys me. The author is making a political statement and I do not think it is a progressive one. It is damning the Unionist movement when it says its leader is being carted off to jail. I can think of lots of examples of early American Bosses who did hellish things to their employees. They deserved jail, but they handled the purse strings and never saw jail. Wouldn't it be fairer to examine both sides? Sure would, but this is agit-prop poetry, and wasn't really examined for anything like truth, fairness and a discussion.
    One small point: I wonder if the horses mentioned date this poem to the days of Jimmy Hoffa. I think cops began using automotive means earlier than Jimmy. (Report) Reply

  • Kaye Cee (7/27/2008 2:14:00 AM)

    Carl Sandburg made a mistake in this poem. In the last line he writes: 'there's noises I'm going to be hungry for.' If he wanted the contraction, wouldn't 'there're' suffice? As it should be 'there are, ' not 'there is (there's) .'
    As a conversational poem, he could have gotten away with it. And it is a bit conversational. And the protagonist of the poem might not be well-educated, as he's a Teamster, probably back in the days of Hoffa, going off to jail.
    What does anyone think? (Report) Reply

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