Page:American Poetry 1922.djvu/59

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Carl Sandburg

    the whinny and the howl up Pennsylvania Avenue:
    who? why? where?)

   (So people far from the asphalt footing of Pennsylvania
    Avenue look, wonder, mumble—the riding white-jaw
    phantoms ride hi-eeee, hi-eeee, hi-yi, hi-yi, hi-eeee—
    the proclamations of the honorable orators mix with the
    top-sergeants whistling the roll call.)

If when the clockticks counted sixty,
when the heartbeats of the Republic
came to a stop for a minute,
if the Boy had happened to sit up,
happening to sit up as Lazarus sat up, in the story,
then the first shivering language to drip off his mouth
might have come as, "Thank God," or "Am I dreaming?"
or "What the hell" or "When do we eat?"
or "Kill 'em, kill 'em, the...."
or "Was that ... a rat ... ran over my face?"
or "For Christ's sake, gimme water, gimme water,"
or "Blub blub, bloo bloo.... ..."
or any bubbles of shell shock gibberish
from the gashes of No Man's Land.

Maybe some buddy knows,
some sister, mother, sweetheart,
maybe some girl who sat with him once
when a two-horn silver moon