In a Breath

Carl Sandburg

 

     To the Williamson Brothers

High noon. White sun flashes on the Michigan Avenue asphalt. Drum of hoofs and whirr of motors. Women trapsing along in flimsy clothes catching play of sun-fire to their skin and eyes.

Inside the playhouse are movies from under the sea. From the heat of pavements and the dust of sidewalks, passers-by go in a breath to be witnesses of large cool sponges, large cool fishes, large cool valleys and ridges of coral spread silent in the soak of the ocean floor thousands of years.

A naked swimmer dives. A knife in his right hand shoots a streak at the throat of a shark. The tail of the shark lashes. One swing would kill the swimmer… Soon the knife goes into the soft underneck of the veering fish… Its mouthful of teeth, each tooth a dagger itself, set row on row, glistens when the shuddering, yawning cadaver is hauled up by the brothers of the swimmer.

Outside in the street is the murmur and singing of life in the sun—horses, motors, women trapsing along in flimsy clothes, play of sun-fire in their blood.

 

Poems by This Author

At a Window by Carl Sandburg
Give me hunger
Autumn Movement by Carl Sandburg
I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts
Back Yard by Carl Sandburg
Shine on, O moon of summer
Caboose Thoughts by Carl Sandburg
It's going to come out all right—do you know
Cahoots by Carl Sandburg
Play it across the table
Chicago by Carl Sandburg
Hog Butcher for the World,
Fire Dreams by Carl Sandburg
I remember here by the fire
Fog by Carl Sandburg
The fog comes
Follies by Carl Sandburg
Shaken
Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind by Carl Sandburg
Grass by Carl Sandburg
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo
Handfuls by Carl Sandburg
Blossoms of babies
Honky Tonk in Cleveland, Ohio by Carl Sandburg
It's a jazz affair, drum crashes and cornet razzes.
How Much? by Carl Sandburg
How much do you love me, a million bushels
I am the People, the Mob by Carl Sandburg
I am the people--the mob--the crowd--the mass.
Languages by Carl Sandburg
There are no handles upon a language
Loam by Carl Sandburg
In the loam we sleep
Mag by Carl Sandburg
I wish to God I never saw you, Mag.
Poems Done on a Late Night Car by Carl Sandburg
I am The Great White Way of the city
Prayers of Steel by Carl Sandburg
Lay me on an anvil, O God
Remorse by Carl Sandburg
The horse's name was Remorse
Summer Stars by Carl Sandburg
Bend low again, night of summer stars
Testament by Carl Sandburg
I give the undertakers permission to haul my body
Theme in Yellow by Carl Sandburg
I spot the hills
Under the Harvest Moon by Carl Sandburg
Under the harvest moon
Wilderness by Carl Sandburg
There is a wolf in me
Window by Carl Sandburg
Night from a railroad car window


Further Reading

Poems about Sharks
Angel Shark
by Hailey Leithauser
Ants and Sharks
by Tomasz Rózycki
Ashore
by Ernest Hilbert
At Shark Reef Sanctuary
by Eva Alice Counsell
Beach Walk
by Henri Cole
Coffee and Oranges
by Joel Brouwer
Flying Fish: An Ode [excerpt]
by Charles Wharton Stork
Haunted Seas
by Cale Young Rice
I Wonder What It Feels Like to be Drowned?
by Robert Graves
Inheritance of Waterfalls and Sharks
by Martín Espada
Murray Dreaming
by Stephen Edgar
No Place Like Home
by Stephen Cushman
Ode on Dictionaries
by Barbara Hamby
Plague of Dead Sharks
by Alan Dugan
Rome
by Brigit Pegeen Kelly
Seal Lullaby
by Rudyard Kipling
Sharks in the Rivers
by Ada Limón
Sharks' Teeth
by Kay Ryan
Shoal of Sharks
by Richard O'Connell
Song of the Paddlers [excerpt]
by Herman Melville
Submarine Mountains
by Cale Young Rice
Summer [excerpt]
by James Thomson
The Bluefish
by Isaac McLellan
The Maldive Shark
by Herman Melville
The Ripple Effect
by Jamey Dunham
The Sea is History
by Derek Walcott
The Shark
by Lord Alfred Douglas
The Shark
by Isaac McLellan
The Shark
by William Henry Venable
The Shark
by Judith Beveridge
The Shark's Parlor
by James Dickey
The Sharks
by Denise Levertov
The Sirens
by James Russell Lowell
The Steel Rippers
by Patricia Carlin
Tiger Shark
by Hailey Leithauser
Untitled [There, by the crescent moon, the shark]
by Shido
Upon Shark
by Robert Herrick
What To Do About Sharks
by Vivian Shipley
White Sales
by Allen Grossman
World Below the Brine
by Walt Whitman