Verse > Carl Sandburg > Smoke and Steel > VIII. Circles of Doors > 15. White Ash
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Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).  Smoke and Steel. 1922.
  
VIII. Circles of Doors
15. White Ash
  
THERE is a woman on Michigan Boulevard keeps a parrot and goldfish and two white mice.
  
She used to keep a houseful of girls in kimonos and three pushbuttons on the front door.
  
Now she is alone with a parrot and goldfish and two white mice … but these are some of her thoughts:
  
The love of a soldier on furlough or a sailor on shore leave burns with a bonfire red and saffron.
  
The love of an emigrant workman whose wife is a thousand miles away burns with a blue smoke.        5
  
The love of a young man whose sweetheart married an older man for money burns with a sputtering uncertain flame.
  
And there is a love … one in a thousand … burns clean and is gone leaving a white ash.…
  
And this is a thought she never explains to the parrot and goldfish and two white mice.

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