Thursday, May 30, 2019

Poem For A Thursday: Sandburg


I asked professors who teach the meaning of life to tell me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though I was trying to fool with them.
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with their women and children and a keg of beer and an accordion.
-Carl Sandburg

"Happiness" is from Carl Sandburg's volume of 1916, Chicago Poems. Since I'm in Chicago as this post appears, and possibly recovering from a poetry reading and beer bash celebrating the 200th anniversary of Walt Whitman's birth this seemed altogether too appropriate.

Oh, and a proper Chicagoan pronounces that the Dess Plains river. Don't even ask what we do with Goethe Street.

I trust another poem suitable to our happiness theme can be found at Holds Upon Happiness.


  1. Yeh, but my Hungarian grandmother (c. 1900) told me that the Hungarian authorities had to ban the song "Gloomy Sunday" from the radio because too many people were topping themselves after they listened to it. A problem passionate gifted people sometimes have: bipolar.

    1. Ha! Interesting. Somehow I'm not surprised that Sandburg makes sweeping generalizations about ethnic groups he knows nothing about...

  2. I used to love Sandburg as a girl but I've never returned as an adult.

    Also, I still don't understand RoncESSvalles either. *sigh*

    Enjoy Chicago!

    1. I don't think I knew any of Sandburg outside of "Hog Butcher for the World,..." when I was young. He was kind of a late discovery.

      Since my French accent is kind of terrible, I'm actually happy to have the names mangled... ;-)