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Short poem

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)


              1JACK was a swarthy, swaggering son-of-a-gun.
              2He worked thirty years on the railroad, ten hours a day,
      and his hands were tougher than sole leather.
              3He married a tough woman and they had eight children
      and the woman died and the children grew up and
      went away and wrote the old man every two years.
              4He died in the poorhouse sitting on a bench in the sun
      telling reminiscences to other old men whose women
      were dead and children scattered.
              5There was joy on his face when he died as there was joy
      on his face when he lived--he was a swarthy, swag-
      gering son-of-a-gun.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1916), p. 46. PS 3537 A618C5 1916 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1916
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/7

Rhyme: abcda

Other poems by Carl Sandburg