Population Drifts

New-mown hay smell and wind of the plain made her
a woman whose ribs had the power of the hills in
them and her hands were tough for work and there
was passion for life in her womb.
She and her man crossed the ocean and the years that
marked their faces saw them haggling with landlords
and grocers while six children played on the stones
and prowled in the garbage cans.
One child coughed its lungs away, two more have adenoids
and can neither talk nor run like their mother,
one is in jail, two have jobs in a box factory
And as they fold the pasteboard, they wonder what the
wishing is and the wistful glory in them that flutters
faintly when the glimmer of spring comes on
the air or the green of summer turns brown:
They do not know it is the new-mown hay smell calling
and the wind of the plain praying for them to come
back and take hold of life again with tough hands
and with passion.

by Carl Sandburg

Other poems of SANDBURG (456)

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