A Tall Man

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Cornhuskers  (1918)  by Carl Sandburg
A Tall Man
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A TALL MAN

The mouth of this man is a gaunt strong mouth.

The head of this man is a gaunt strong head.


The jaws of this man are bone of the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachians.

The eyes of this man are chlorine of two sobbing oceans,

Foam, salt, green, wind, the changing unknown.

The neck of this man is pith of buffalo prairie, old longing and new beckoning of corn belt or cotton belt,

Either a proud Sequoia trunk of the wilderness

Or huddling lumber of a sawmill waiting to be a roof.


Brother mystery to man and mob mystery.

Brother cryptic to lifted cryptic hands,

He is night and abyss, he is white sky of sun, he is the head of the people.

The heart of him the red drops of the people,

The wish of him the steady gray-eagle crag-hunting flights of the people.


Humble dust of a wheel-worn road.

Slashed sod under the iron-shining plow,

These of service in him, these and many cities, many borders, many wrangles between Alaska and the Isthmus, between the Isthmus and the Horn, and east and west of Omaha, and east and west of Paris, Berlin, Petrograd.

The blood in his right wrist and the blood in his left wrist run with the right wrist wisdom of the many and the left wrist wisdom of the many.

It is the many he knows, the gaunt strong hunger of the many.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1967, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 30 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.