Carl Sandburg is one of my favourite American writers. Born in Illinois in 1878, he wrote poetry for two years before his first book of verse, In Reckless Ecstasy, was printed in 1904. A further two volumes followed, Incidentals in 1907 and The Plaint of a Rose in 1908. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his Complete Poems in 1950. Sandburg died in North Carolina in 1957. This is:
HORSES AND MEN IN RAIN
By Carl Sandburg
LET us sit by a hissing steam-radiator, a winter’s day, gray wind pattering frozen raindrops on the window,
And let us talk about milk wagon drivers and grocery delivery boys.
Let us keep our feet in wool slippers and mix hot punches—and talk about mail carriers and messenger boys slipping along the icy sidewalks.
Let us write of olden, golden days and hunters of the Holy Grail and men called “knights” riding horses in the rain, in the cold frozen rain for ladies they loved.
A roustabout hunched on a coal wagon goes by, icicles drip on his hat rim, sheets of ice wrapping the hunks of coal, the caravanserai a gray blur in slant of rain.
Let us nudge the steam radiator with our wool slippers and write poems of Lancelot, the hero, and Roland, the hero, and all the olden golden men who rode horses in the rain.