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



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THREES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I was a boy when I heard three red words
Last Line: Ham and eggs -- how much? -- and -- do you love me, kid?
Subject(s): Language; Words; Vocabulary


I was a boy when I heard three red words
a thousand Frenchmen died in the streets
for: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity -- I asked
why men die for words.

I was older; men with mustaches, sideburns,
lilacs, told me the high golden words are:
Mother, Home, and Heaven -- other older men with
face decorations said: God, Duty, Immortality
-- they sang these threes slow from deep lungs.

Years ticked off their say-so on the great clocks
of doom and damnation, soup and nuts: meteors flashed
their say-so: and out of great Russia came three
dusky syllables workmen took guns and went out to die
for: Bread, Peace, Land.

And I met a marine of the U.S.A., a leatherneck with a girl on his for a memory in ports circling
the earth and he said: Tell me how to say three things and I always get by -- gimme a plate of
ham and eggs -- how much? -- and -- do you love me, kid?





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