Carl Sandburg poems

Carl Sandburg(6 January 1878 - 22 July 1967 / Illinois)
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- by Carl Sandburg 191

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your
Arithmet ic tell you how many you lose or win if you know how
many you had before you lost or won.
Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven -- or five
six bundle of sticks.
Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand
to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and
you can look out of the window and see the blue sky -- or the
answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again
and see how it comes out this time.
If you take a number and double it and double it again and then
double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger
and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you
what the number is when you decide to quit doubling.
Arithmetic is where you have to multiply -- and you carry the
multiplication table in your head and hope you won't lose it.
If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you
eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the
other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody
offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say
Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?
If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she
gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is
better in arithmetic, you or your mother?

Aprons of Silence

- by Carl Sandburg 151

Many things I might have said today.
And I kept my mouth shut.
So many times I was asked
To come and say the same things
Everybody was saying, no end
To the yes-yes, yes-yes,
me-too, me-too.

The aprons of silence covered me.
A wire and hatch held my tongue.
I spit nails into an abyss and listened.
I shut off the gable of Jones, Johnson, Smith,
All whose names take pages in the city directory.

I fixed up a padded cell and lugged it around.
I locked myself in and nobody knew it.
Only the keeper and the kept in the hoosegow
Knew it--on the streets, in the post office,
On the cars, into the railroad station
Where the caller was calling, "All a-board,
All a-board for . . . Blaa-blaa . . . Blaa-blaa,
Blaa-blaa . . . and all points northwest . . .all a-board."
Here I took along my own hoosegow
And did business with my own thoughts.
Do you see? It must be the aprons of silence.

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