Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HOUSE, by CARL SANDBURG

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

HOUSE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Two swede families live downstairs and an irish policeman upstairs
Last Line: Could be a soldier.
Subject(s): American Civil War; Home; U.s. - History

TWO Swede families live downstairs and an Irish policeman upstairs,
and an old soldier, Uncle Joe.
Two Swede boys go upstairs and see Joe. His wife is dead, his only son
is dead, and his two daughters in Missouri and Texas don't want him
The boys and Uncle Joe crack walnuts with a hammer on the bottom of a
flatiron while the January wind howls and the zero air weaves laces on
the window glass.
Joe tells the Swede boys all about Chickamauga and Chattanooga, how
the Union soldiers crept in rain somewhere a dark night and ran
forward and killed many Rebels, took flags, held a hill, and won a
victory told about in the histories in school.
Joe takes a piece of carpenter's chalk, draws lines on the floor and
piles stove wood to show where six regiments were slaughtered climbing
a slope.
"Here they went" and "Here they went," says Joe, and the January wind
howls and the zero air weaves laces on the window glass.
The two Swede boys go downstairs with a big blur of guns, men, and
hills in their heads. They eat herring and potatoes and tell the
family war is a wonder and soldiers are a wonder.
One breaks out with a cry at supper: I wish we had a war now and I
could be a soldier.

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