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



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

WILDERNESS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There is a wolf in me - fangs pointed for tearing gashes
Last Line: Am a pal of the world: I came from the wilderness.
Subject(s): Men


THERE is a wolf in me ... fangs pointed for tearing gashes ... a red
tongue for raw meat ... and the hot lapping of blood -- I
keep this wolf
because the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let
it go.
There is a fox in me ... a silver-gray fox ... I sniff and guess ... I
pick things out of the wind and air ... I nose in the dark night and
take sleepers and eat them and hide the feathers ... I circle and loop
and double-cross.

There is a hog in me ... a snout and a belly ... a machinery for
eating and grunting ... a machinery for sleeping satisfied in the
sun -- I got this too from the wilderness and the wilderness will not
let it go.

There is a fish in me ... I know I came from saltblue water-gates ...
I scurried with shoals of herring ... I blew waterspouts with
porpoises ... before land was ... before the water went down ...
before Noah ... before the first chapter of Genesis.

There is a baboon in me ... clambering-clawed ... dog-faced ...
yawping a galoot's hunger ... hairy under the armpits ... here are the
hawk-eyed hankering men ... here are the blond and blue-eyed women ...
here they hide curled asleep waiting ... ready to snarl and kill ...
ready to sing and give milk ... waiting -- I keep the
baboon because the
wilderness says so.

There is an eagle in me and a mockingbird ... and the eagle flies
among the Rocky Mountains of my dreams and fights among the Sierra
crags of what I want ... and the mockingbird warbles in the early
forenoon before the dew is gone, warbles in the underbrush of my
Chattanoogas of hope, gushes over the blue Ozark foothills of my
wishes -- And I got the eagle and the mockingbird from the wilderness.

O, I got a zoo, I got a menagerie, inside my ribs, under my bony head,
under my red-valve heart -- and I got something else: it is
a man-child
heart, a woman-child heart: it is a father and mother and lover: it
came from God-Knows-Where: it is going to God-Knows-Where -- For I am
the keeper of the zoo: I say yes and no: I sing and kill and work: I
am a pal of the world: I came from the wilderness.





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