Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
Ready to Kill
1TEN minutes now I have been looking at this.
2I have gone by here before and wondered about it.
3This is the bronze memorial of a famous general
4Riding horseback with a flag and a sword and a revolver
5I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to be
hauled away to the scrap yard.
6I put it straight to you,
7After the farmer, the miner, the shop man, the factory
hand, the fireman and the teamster,
8Have all been remembered with bronze memorials,
9Shaping them on the job and getting all of us
10Something to eat and something to wear,
11When they stack a few silhouettes
12 Against the sky
13 Here in the park,
14And show the real huskies that are doing the work of
the world, and feeding people instead of butchering
15Then maybe I will stand here
16And look easy at this general of the army holding a flag
in the air,
17And riding like hell on horseback
18Ready to kill anybody that gets in his way,
19Ready to run the red blood and slush the bowels of men
all over the sweet new grass of the prairie.
14] huskies: tough, strong men.
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. 60. PS 3537 A618C5 1916 Robarts Library.
First publication date:
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/7
Form: Free Verse
Other poems by Carl Sandburg