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Soup -- Carl Sandburg

       
(Poem #834) Soup
 I saw a famous man eating soup.
 I say he was lifting a fat broth
 Into his mouth with a spoon.
 His name was in the newspapers that day
 Spelled out in tall black headlines
 And thousands of people were talking about him.

     When I saw him,
 He sat bending his head over a plate
 Putting soup in his mouth with a spoon.
-- Carl Sandburg
A nice little vignette that makes a simple point, but makes it well: even
the rich and famous are like you and I [1].

Sandburg's unadorned, unpretentious style lends itself well to snippets like
this. Today's poem does not have the rollicking energy, the sweeping
syllables of "Chicago". Nor does it have the subtle beauty, the delicate
imagery of "Crucible" and "Pennsylvania". But it does not need either of
these to succeed. Instead, the impact of "Soup" is in all the little
touches, the splashes of detail, in phrases such as 'tall black headlines'
and 'bending his head over a plate'. Skilfully done.

thomas.

[1]     "The rich are different from you and me." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald.
        "Yes, they have more money." -- Ernest Hemingway.

[Links]

While Sandburg's passionate unstructured verse may have invigorated American
poetry when it was first published in the early years of this century, in
recent years it has fallen out of favour with critics due to its seeming
lack of discipline. Read http://www.poetscanvas.org/jan_feb_mar/sandburg.htm
for more on this subject.

Poems by Sandburg on the Minstrels:
Poem #5, Chicago
Poem #163, Dust
Poem #205, Crucible
Poem #235, Pennsylvania
Poem #282, Fog
Poem #679, Maybe
Poem #713, Last Answers
The second and third of these have biographies, from EB and poets.org
respectively.

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