Near Keokuk

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Cornhuskers by Carl Sandburg
Near Keokuk
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NEAR KEOKUK

Thirty-two Greeks are dipping their feet in a creek.

Sloshing their bare feet in a cool flow of clear water.

All one midsummer day ten hours the Greeks

stand in leather shoes shoveling gravel.

Now they hold their toes and ankles

to the drift of running water.

Then they go to the bunk cars

and eat mulligan and prune sauce.

Smoke one or two pipefuls, look at the stars,

tell smutty stories

About men and women they have known,

countries they have seen,

Railroads they have built—

and then the deep sleep of children.