Reading: The Harbor by Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) was a very American poet. He wrote a Lincoln biography and was the only poet who spoke for Congress. He was insanely famous in the US so we have to read one of his poems. Her goes:

The Harbor
Passing through huddled and ugly walls,
By doorways where women haggard
Looked from their hunger-deep eyes,
Haunted with shadows of hunger-hands,
Out from the huddled and ugly walls,
I came sudden, at the city’s edge,
On a blue burst of lake,
Long lake waves breaking under the sun
On a spray-flung curve of shore;
And a fluttering storm of gulls,
Masses of great gray wings
And flying white bellies
Veering and wheeling free in the open.

The Chicago harbor, when it suddenly appears in front of your eyes, is a beautiful sight. I haven’t seen it, but I know it from this poem. This is beautifully crafted language, don’t you think? I remember huddled and ugly walls from other port cities like Lisbon, Havana or Mombasa. The hungry women staring at a passerby look familiar too. And getting out of this maze all of a sudden, you feel the wideness and the shore is soothing. That wide openness is wonderfully illustrated with the gulls flying overhead. It seems to me that the grand freedom of nature is breaking on the spray-flung shore. It bbecomes visible as freedom, glistening under the sun, when it is juxtaposed to the huddled and crowded walls.

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