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

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TRANSFORMATION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In many homes / one sees old shrapnel cases
Last Line: Let me work.
Subject(s): Change; Death; Social Protest; Soldiers; War; World War I; Dead, The; First World War

In many homes
One sees old shrapnel cases
Converted into lamps;
Think of it!
The canisters that carried wholesale death
Now hold the warm glow of light!

Old forts, old positions
Once fiercely defended
Now are overgrown with the beautiful green
Of Nature's mantle of grass.

And the shell-pocked fields
And scarred hill-sides
Now are healed
With the waving gold of millet
And buckwheat.

They say a dreadful blotch of blood
On Hill two hundred and three,
A stain on the face of the earth,
Fifty feet by thirty,
Has been washed clean and sweet
By God's patient rains. ...



Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo,
Shovel them under and let me work—
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg,
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun,
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

I am the grass.
Let me work.

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